CFP: Mental Actions and Mental Agency


Mental Actions and Mental Agency
Special Issue of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology
Guest Editors: Anika Fiebich, and John Michael
Deadline for Submissions: February 1st 2014

In recent decades, mental actions have been discussed intensively in the scientific debate on intentional actions. Within this debate ‘mental agency’ has been defined as the capacity to bring about specific mental states through one’s own mental processes. In this sense, typical mental actions include recalling something, forming a judgment, solving a problem and making an action plan.

Most discussions of mental action have so far focused on establishing it as an interesting and legitimate category and addressing fundamental conceptual issues that it raises. Building upon this foundational work, the present special issue aims to bring together attempts to make use of the notion of mental action as a theoretical tool, i.e. in conceptualizing neglected types or aspects of intentional action and action preparation, in theorizing about empirical findings, in generating new questions for empirical research.

Aspects of mental actions and mental agency include (but are not restricted to):

  • Typology of Mental Action. Are there types of action that have not yet been discussed in the literature and which might be illuminated by conceptualizing them as mental actions (e.g. forming the intention not to act, ‘mind-wandering’ while in a resting state)?
  • Intentional Structure. Are mental actions accompanied by an intention to (mentally) act? What is the intentional structure of mental agency? Is there a sense of agency for mental acts? If so, how is it constituted and (how) does it differ depending on whether the mental acts in question precede intentions to act or intentions to not to act?
  • Action preparation. What role does mental agency play for the preparation of bodily actions? (How) can the notion of mental agency assist us in conceptualizing novel findings from neuroscience or psychology (e.g., Aaron Schurger’s and colleagues challenging follow-up study of the Libet-experiment)? How can empirical research enrich our understanding of mental agency and mental preparations of bodily actions?
  • Mental acts in groups. What are the peculiarities of mental acts performed in groups such as group reasoning? What is mental agency in groups? Does mental agency in groups presuppose the assumption of some kind of super-agent?

Invited Contributors:

  • Shaun Gallagher (University of Memphis)
  • Joelle Proust (IJN Paris)
  • Aaron Schurger (INSERM), and Sebo Uithol (University of Parma)

Word limit: 8000 words
Deadline for submissions: February 1st 2014
Publication is expected in September 2014

How to submit

Prospective authors should register at: to obtain a login and select Pictorial and Spatial Representation as the article type. Manuscripts should be approximately 8,000 words and conform to the author guidelines available on the journal’s website.

About the journal

The Review of Philosophy and Psychology (ISSN: 1878-5158; eISSN: 1878-5166) is a peer-reviewed journal, published quarterly by Springer, which focuses on philosophical and foundational issues in cognitive science. The journal’s aim is to provide a forum for discussion on topics of mutual interest to philosophers and psychologists and to foster interdisciplinary research at the crossroads of philosophy and the sciences of the mind, including the neural, behavioural and social sciences. The journal publishes theoretical works grounded in empirical research as well as empirical articles on issues of philosophical relevance. It includes thematic issues featuring invited contributions from leading authors together with articles answering a call for papers.


For any queries, please email the guest editors: and

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