In recent years, there has been a trend in psychiatry to try and explain disorders of action in terms of an over-reliance on the habitual mode of action. In particular, it has been hypothesized that compulsions in obsessive-compulsive disorder are driven by maladaptive habits. In this paper, I argue that this view of obsessive-compulsive disorder does not fit the phenomenology of the disorder in many patients, and that a more refined conceptualization of habit is likely to be helpful in clarifying the distinctions between disorders of action. There are thus two aims to this paper. The first is to highlight the issues pertaining to the view that compulsions are the result of an over-reliance on the habitual mode of action, leading to a loss of agentive control. The second aim is to examine the view of agentive control implicit in those accounts, and see how other conceptions of agentive control might do a better job at accounting for the distinct ways in which persons suffering from pathologies of action may be said to lack control.


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pp. 163-171
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