McMaster Philosophy Speaker Series Presents:
When discussing the nature of intentional action and control, philosophers traditionally emphasize the causal contributions made by an agent’s propositional attitudes, especially their beliefs, desires, and intentions. By contrast, far less attention has been paid to the psychological representations that serve as the primary bridge between an agent’s proximal intention to act and their subsequent behaviour, i.e., the motor representations that specify the bodily means by way of which such an intention is to be implemented. But without a full account of these states, we cannot hope to have a complete account of agentive control. After all, it’s largely due to the roles that these states play that an agent is able to successfully guide their behaviour in ways that satisfy their immediate goals.
My aim in this talk is to contribute to recent efforts geared towards elucidating the nature of motor representations (see, e.g., Brozzo, 2017; Ferretti, 2016; Pavese, 2019; Shepherd, 2021). In particular, my focus will be on how motor representations encode their contents, or what I will call motoric format. I will argue on the basis of theoretical and empirical considerations that motor representations exhibit core characteristics of both propositionally-formatted (e.g., beliefs) and non-propositionally-formatted representations (e.g., visual sensations), suggesting a hybrid format and structure.