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, 52 (4), 565-594

Motor Intention/Intentionality and Associationism - A Conceptual Review


Motor Intention/Intentionality and Associationism - A Conceptual Review

Denis Ebbesen et al. Integr Psychol Behav Sci.


Motor intention/intentionality (MI) has been investigated from many different angles. Some researchers focus on the purely physical and mechanical aspects of the human motor system, while others emphasize the subjectivity involved in intentionality. While bridging this seemingly dualistic gap between the two concepts ought to be the researcher's' main task, different schools of thought have instead specialized in stressing one (objective) or the other (subjective) part of this construct. Thus, we find everything from neuroscientific to phenomenologically inspired approaches to MI. The purpose of this article is to review the literature regarding these different approaches to the MI construct. In reviewing the literature, we introduce a broadened conception of associationism. In organizing our data in relation to the laws of association, a lack of methodology clearly manifests itself. Hence, 123 articles out of 143 meet the criteria of our definition of associationism. It seems that this old doctrine sneaks in to a big part of the research rather implicitly through a lack of methodology. To shed light on how this happens in the 123 articles, we develop a continuum to show to which extend associationism operates on a transcendent or substantial level in each article. We find only very few articles that seem to try to gap the bridge between motor and intention/intentionality, and thus we suggest that future MI research reintroduce methodological debates concerning the conceptual character of this construct.

Keywords: Associationism; Intention; Intentionality; Mental representation; Motor; Philosophy of science.

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