Mental causation and Searle's impossible conception of unconscious intentionality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


In my article I evaluate Searle's account of mental causation, in particular his account of the causal efficacy of unconscious intentional states. I argue that top-down causation and overdetermination are unsolved problems in Searle's philosophy of mind, despite his assurances to the contrary. I also argue that there are conflicting claims involved in his account of mental causation and his account of the unconscious. As a result, it becomes impossible to understand how unconscious intentional states can be causally efficacious. My conclusion will be that if Searle's conception of unconscious intentionality is to play a genuine role in the causal explanation of human action, it needs to be rethought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-170
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


Dive into the research topics of 'Mental causation and Searle's impossible conception of unconscious intentionality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this