The concept of unified agency in Nietzsche, Plato, and Schiller

This paper examines Nietzsche’s concept of unified agency. A widespread consensus has emerged in the secondary literature on three points: (1) Nietzsche’s notion of unity is meant to be an analysis of freedom; (2) unity refers to a relation between the agent’s drives or motivational states; and (3) unity obtains when one drive predominates and imposes order on the other drives. I argue that these claims are philosophically and textually indefensible. In contrast, I argue that (1′) Nietzschean unity is an account of the distinction between genuine actions and mere behaviors, rather than between free and unfree actions; (2′) unity refers to a relation between drives and conscious thought; and (3′) unity obtains when the agent’s attitude toward her own action is stable under the revelation of further information about the action’s etiology. I show that Nietzsche develops this notion of unity by drawing on Plato’s and Schiller’s accounts of unified agency.
Keywords Nietzsche  agency  unity  Schiller  activity  passivity  genuine action  mere behavior
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,658
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Manuel Dries (2015). Freedom, Resistance, Agency. In Peter Kail & Manuel Dries (eds.), Nietzsche on Mind and Nature. Oxford University Press 142–162.
Jeanette Kennett & Steve Matthews (2003). The Unity and Disunity of Agency. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 10 (4):308-312.
Paul Katsafanas (2012). Nietzsche on Agency and Self-Ignorance. Journal of Nietzsche Studies 43 (1):5-17.
David M. Rosenthal (2003). Unity of Consciousness and the Self. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):325-352.
Scott E. Weiner (2003). Unity of Agency and Volition: Some Personal Reflections. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 10 (4):369-372.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

123 ( #20,438 of 1,725,935 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #109,857 of 1,725,935 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.