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Appears in Collections:Law and Philosophy Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Intentional action and the post-coma patient
Author(s): Drayson, Zoe
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Keywords: Argument from volition
Mental action
Vegetative state
Issue Date: Apr-2014
Date Deposited: 4-Mar-2014
Citation: Drayson Z (2014) Intentional action and the post-coma patient. Topoi, 33 (1), pp. 23-31.;
Abstract: The presence or absence of intentional action plays an important role in the clinical diagnosis of patients emerging from coma states. Judgments about a patient's capacity for intentional action have traditionally focused on the nature of their bodily movements, but recent neuroimaging data suggests that brain activity can be indicative of intentional action. I will suggest that this change of focus, from the interpretation of motor behaviour as intentional (bodily) action to the interpretation of neural activity as intentional (mental) action, raises philosophical issues that have not yet been addressed in the literature. In particular, I am concerned that the notion of ‘intentional mental action' is not as straightforward as the notion of ‘intentional bodily action', which leaves the neuroimaging experiments open to different interpretations. Furthermore, I suggest that the kind of neuroimaging data that would settle the question of interpretation will be difficult to obtain, partly due to the nature of intentional mental action.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s11245-013-9185-8
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Topoi, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp.23-31, 2014 by Springer. The original publication is available at

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