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date: 22 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In his book Phenomenology of Perception, the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty first coined the phrase “motor intentionality.” At the same time he highlighted the contrast between motor and cognitive intentionality, he also emphasized their generally smooth interplay in normal agents. An account of motor intentionality should thus aim at elucidating not just what distinguishes motor intentionality from more cognitive forms of intentionality but also how motor intentionality relates to these more cognitive forms of intentionality. Using Merleau-Ponty’s discussion of motor intentionality as my starting point, I consider how more recent conceptual and empirical work can help sharpen our understanding of the distinctiveness of motor intentionality. In contrast to Merleau-Ponty, I defend a representational stance on motor intentionality. Finally, I turn to the challenges raised by its interplay with more cognitive forms of intentionality and the problem of explaining how our motor behavior can be responsive to our intentions.

Keywords: motor intentionality, motor representations, intentions, non-conceptual content, visual pathways, apraxia, interface problem, motor schemas

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