Talking to Our Selves

Talking to Our Selves : Reflection, Ignorance, and Agency

3.88 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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John M. Doris presents a new account of agency and responsibility, which reconciles our understanding of ourselves as moral agents with psychological research on the unconscious mind. Much philosophical theorizing maintains that the exercise of morally responsible agency consists in judgment and behavior ordered by accurate reflection. On such theories, when human beings are able to direct their lives in the manner philosophers have dignified with the honorific
'agency', it's because they know what they're doing, and why they're doing it. This understanding is compromised by quantities of psychological research on unconscious processing, which suggests that accurate reflection is distressingly uncommon; very often behavior is ordered by surprisingly inaccurate
self-awareness. Thus, if agency requires accurate reflection, people seldom exercise agency, and skepticism about agency threatens. To counter the skeptical threat, John M. Doris proposes an alternative theory that requires neither reflection nor accurate self-awareness: he identifies a dialogic form of agency where self-direction is facilitated by exchange of the rationalizations with which people explain and justify themselves to one another. The result is a stoutly interdisciplinary theory
sensitive to both what human beings are like-creatures with opaque and unruly psychologies-and what they need: an account of agency sufficient to support a practice of moral responsibility.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 278 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 16mm | 428g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0198805187
  • 9780198805182
  • 1,206,325

Table of contents

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Review quote

[This] is an important contribution * John M. Doris, Australasian Journal of Philosophy * Talking to Our Selves should appeal to all kinds of readers, philosophers and psychologists, students and the general public. For those who are aware of the current state of affairs, Doris is careful to situate his views with respect to other researchers and positions. It's an excellent model for those pursuing work at the intersection of philosophy and social science. But even for those who have not been following contemporary philosophy in this area, by
focusing on the bigger picture, Doris has written an accessible and engaging book and one which gives the reader a sense of where empirical philosophy is headed. * Emily Esch, Metapsychology Online Reviews *
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About John M. Doris

John M. Doris is Professor in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program and Philosophy Department, Washington University in St. Louis. He works at the intersection of cognitive science, moral psychology, and philosophical ethics, and has published in many leading journals. Doris has been awarded fellowships from Michigan's Institute for the Humanities, Princeton's University Center for Human Values, the National Humanities Center, the American Council of Learned
Societies, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities (three times), and is a winner of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology's Stanton Prize. He authored Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior (Cambridge, 2002) and, with his
colleagues in the Moral Psychology Research Group, edited The Moral Psychology Handbook (Oxford, 2010). Doris' teaching has been recognized with an Outstanding Mentor Award from Washington University's Graduate Student Senate.
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Rating details

8 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 25% (2)
4 50% (4)
3 12% (1)
2 12% (1)
1 0% (0)
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