Choice in a two systems world: Picking and weighing or managing and metacognition

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Intuitively, choices seem to be intentional actions but it is difficult to see how they could be. If our choices are all about weighing up reasons then there seems no room for an additional intentional act of choice. Richard Holton has suggested a solution to this puzzle, which involves thinking of choices in a two systems of cognition framework. Holton’s suggestion does solve the puzzle, but has some unsatisfactory consequences. This paper wants to take over the important insights from Holton on the phenomenology of choice and the possible explanation via a two systems framework, but wants to suggest an alternative more satisfactory account. This account is built around the idea that choices are what Pamela Hieronymi calls managerial acts. After developing the claim the paper then defends it against the objection that managerial control cannot be understood in a system1 context, by examining recent research on uncertainty monitoring and early forms of metacognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPhenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2018


  • mental actions
  • two systems
  • choic
  • metacognition
  • picking


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