Why is Mind Wandering Interesting for Philosophers ?


This chapter explores points of contact between philosophy of mind and scientific approaches to spontaneous thought. While offering a series of conceptual instruments that might prove helpful for researchers on the empirical research frontier, it begins by asking what the explanandum for theories of mind wandering is, how one can conceptually individuate single occurrences of this specific target phenomenon, and how we might arrive at a more finegrained taxonomy. The second half of this contribution sketches some positive proposals as to how we might understand mind wandering on a conceptual level, namely, as a loss of mental autonomy resulting in involuntary mental behaviour, as a highly specific epistemic deficit relating to self-knowledge, and as a discontinuous phenomenological process in which our conscious “unit of identification” is switched.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Metzinger2017WhyIM, title={Why is Mind Wandering Interesting for Philosophers ?}, author={Thomas Metzinger}, year={2017} }