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28 ottobre 2014: E. Fridland: Motor Control. Handling Conditions Vary

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Neurophilosophy Cognition in Action Lecture Series


Ellen Fridland (King's College, London)

Motor Control: Handling Conditions Vary


Martedì 28 ottobre 2014, ore 10.30

Aula 517, Via Festa del Perdono, 7.



When reflecting on the nature of skilled action, it is easy to fall into familiar dichotomies such that one construes the flexibility and intelligence of skill at the level of intentional states while characterizing the automatic motor processes that constitute motor skill execution as learned but fixed, invariant, bottom-up, brute-causal responses.  In this essay, I will argue that this picture of skilled, automatic, motor processes is overly simplistic. Specifically, I will argue that an adequate account of the learned motor routines that constitute motor skills cannot be given in a purely bottom-up, brute-causal fashion.

To establish this, I will first review two recent accounts of skill, Stanley and Krakauer (2013) and Papineau (2013), which characterize the automatic motor control responsible for the fine-grained movements constitutive of motor skill as brute, low-level phenomena. I will then isolate five key features that should apply to skilled motor control, if these accounts are correct. Together, the accounts posit that motor control is: 1. Ballistic, 2. Invariant, 3. Independent of general action trajectories, 4. Insensitive to semantic content, and 5. Independent of personal-level intentions. In the final section of this paper, I will appeal to optimal control theory for empirical evidence to suggest that the automatic motor control constitutive of skilled action is not qualified by any of the above proposed features


La conferenza sarà tenuta in inglese. (The talk will be in English.)

La partecipazione all’incontro è fortemente consigliata consigliata agli allievi della Scuola di Dottorato in Filosofia e Scienze dell’Uomo.

28 ottobre 2014
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