Are we driven by implicit motives? Readings in philosophy of action

Hauptseminar 2-stdg.
Raum: Seminarraum 3 (Ausnahmen: am 13.06. und 11.07. in SR 1)
Termine: Donnerstag 16.15-17.45 Uhr

Master Ethik: V
MAkons: III(GN)


In this seminar we will examine the relationship between implicit motives and intentional action. It should come as no surprise that what we do is often influenced by states and processes we are not aware of. We do not have full awareness of what it exactly is that we are doing, or why we make the choices we do. But what are these so-called implicit motives? And what kind of role do they exactly play in our lives? Furthermore, how can we reconcile the fact that these motives play a role in our lives with the assumption that when we act intentionally and for reasons that we do know what we are doing? These questions will be addressed in this seminar. The seminar is connected to Prof. Brüntrup’s research project “Motivational and Volitional Processes of Human Integration: Philosophical and Psychological Approaches to Human Flourishing”.

The main language will be English. Discussions, student presentations, and the final paper can be written in German.


Arpaly, N. (2005). How it is not ‘just like diabetes’: Mental disorders and the moral psychologist. Philosophical Issues, 15, Normativity, 282-298.
Alvarez, M. (2018). Reasons for action, acting for reasons, and rationality. Synthese, 195, 3293-3310.
Falvey, K. (2000). Knowledge in intention. Philosophical Studies, 99, 21-44.
Finkelstein, D. H. (1999). On the distinction between conscious and unconscious states of mind. American Philosophical Quarterly, 36(2), 79-100.
Frey, J. (2013). Analytic philosophy of action: A very brief history. Philosophy News 7.
Heuer, U. (2014). Intentions and the reasons for which we act. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 114(3), 291-315.
Levy, N. (2015). Neither fish nor fowl: Implicit attitudes as patchy endorsements. Noûs,49(4), 800-823.
Sandis, C. (2015). Verbal reports and 'real' reasons: Confabulation and conflation. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 18(2), 267-280.
Uhlmann, E. L. & Cohen, G. L. (2005). Constructed criteria: Redefining merit to justify discrimination. Psychological Science, 16, 474–480.
Wilson, T.D., & Nisbett, R.E. (1978). The accuracy of verbal reports about the effects of stimuli on evaluations and behavior. Social Psychology, 41(2), 118-131.