Autonomous Action: Self-Determination in the Passive Mode

Ethics 122 (4):647-691 (2012)
Abstract
In order to be a self-governing agent, a person must govern the process by means of which she acquires the intention to act as she does. But what does governing this process require? The standard compatibilist answers to this question all assume that autonomous actions differ from nonautonomous actions insofar as they are a more perfect expression of the agent’s agency. I challenge this conception of autonomous agents as super agents. The distinguishing feature of autonomous agents is, I argue, the nonagential role they play in the formation of their intentions. I offer an account of the relevant role.
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