Hegel's social theory of agency : the 'inner-outer' problem

In Arto Laitinen & Constantine Sandis (eds.), Hegel on Action. Palgrave Macmillan 3-50 (2010)
The following is a chapter of a book and I should say something at the outset about the content of the book. The topic is Hegel’s “social theory of agency,” and that topic, given how the problem of agency is usually understood, raises the immediate question of why anyone would think that “sociality” would have anything at all to do with the “problem of agency.” That problem is understood in a number of ways; most generally – what distinguishes naturally occurring events from actions (if anything)? (Sometimes the question is: what, if anything, distinguishes responsible human doings from what animals do?) The most prominent approach has it that actions are things done intentionally by individuals, purposely, for a purpose. This is sometimes said to mean: acting from or on or because of an intention, although as we shall see this nominalization can be quite misleading. Or, of the many possible descriptions of some occurrence, it is an action is there is a true description which is intentional. This is often taken to mean simply that if you ask a person why he is doing something he can express this intention to explain himself, most often in the form of a reason. He does not (except in extraordinary circumstances) describe why he is acting in the way he might describe what caused his..
Keywords Action, Intention, Responsibility
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DOI 10.1413/26430
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