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Perception, Action, and Depression

Miller Tate, Alex James (2020) Perception, Action, and Depression. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Agential pathology (sometimes referred to as impaired agency or motivational pathology) is a phenomenon whereby people suffering from depressive illnesses struggle to initiate and sustain day-to-day action, in the absence of any identifiable organic motor abnormality. In this paper, I argue that all extant attempts to explain agential pathology share the same explanatory weakness; they are unable to account for why the phenomenon is typically accompanied by an experience of diminished practical significance of objects and features of the world (i.e. experiences of objects’ and features’ ‘availability’ for action or ‘invitingness’). After outlining this explanandum, I argue that the two broad classes of theory already proposed to explain agential pathology (which I term mental state theories and somatic theories) fall short of explaining it. I use this explanatory lacuna to motivate a novel theory of agential pathology (which I term the perceptual theory). This posits that those afflicted by agential pathology struggle to act and experience diminished practical significance in the world around them due to an absence of certain action-centric perceptual representations. This both fills the explanatory gap left by mental state and somatic theories, and provides evidence for the explanatory indispensability of a number of controversial kinds of high-level, action-oriented perceptual contents.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Miller Tate, Alex Jamesalexander.miller_tate@kcl.ac.uk0000-0002-3133-1115
Keywords: depression, agency, action, perception, ecological psychology, philosophy of psychiatry, philosophical psychopathology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Action
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Medicine
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Perception
Specific Sciences > Medicine > Psychiatry
Specific Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Dr. Alexander J Miller Tate
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2020 02:40
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2020 02:40
Item ID: 17476
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Action
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Medicine
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Perception
Specific Sciences > Medicine > Psychiatry
Specific Sciences > Psychology
Date: 15 July 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17476

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