The Nature of Human Volition and Intentions

  • Padmasiri de SilvaEmail author


Patrick Haggard says that in our routine lives, most adult human beings have a strong feeling for voluntary control over their actions, making choices and acting accordingly (Haggard 2008).

The capacity for voluntary action is seen as essential to human nature. Yet, neuroscience and behaviourist psychology have traditionally dismissed this topic as unscientific, perhaps because the mechanisms that cause actions have long been unclear. However, new research has identified network of brain areas, including the pre-supplementary motor area, the anterior pre-frontal cortex and the parietal cortex that underlie voluntary action. These areas generate information for forthcoming actions, and cause the distinctive conscious experience of intending to act and then controlling ones actions. Volition consists of a series of decisions regarding whether to act, what action to perform and when to perform it. (Haggard 2008, 935)


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Philosophical, Historical and International StudiesMonash UniversitySpringvaleAustralia

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