How much of your mental life is intentional action? And how much of it consists of inaction, not doing anything at all? To answer that, we need to get clear on what we mean by “intentional action” and “inaction.”
“Reader’s block” might refer to anxiety about reading some intimidating book; reluctance to read at all; or that special frustrating phenomenon where you drag your eyes over the lines of a page without taking anything in. Sometimes it's the result of a philosophical mistake about reading.
Reading. We all do it, every day, whether it be reading books, text messages, street signs, or cereal boxes. But what is reading? This is an important question, but there is a surprising lack of research in analytic philosophy on this topic. How hard can it be to say what reading is?
Why can falling asleep be so difficult? I’m not looking for a third-personal story of the causal factors that adversely affect sleep. I’m asking a slightly different question: what explains that truly infuriating first-personal experience of trying desperately and yet failing miserably to fall asleep?