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  1. [deleted]Agency and Inner Freedom.Michael Garnett - 2015 - Noûs 50 (1).
    This paper concerns the relationship between two questions. The first is a question about inner freedom: What is it to be rendered unfree, not by external obstacles, but by aspects of oneself? The second is a question about agency: What is it to fail at being a thing that genuinely acts, and instead to be a thing that is merely acted upon, passive in relation to its own behaviour? It is widely believed that answers to the first question must rest (...)
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2016-04-12
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If you have any thoughts, comments or questions about this paper, let me know!

2016-04-16
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Dear Michael,What your paper appears to be exposing is that once one tries to analyse concepts such as freedom and agency at a within-person or within-human being level traditional philosophical concepts such as self or agent become valueless. A dynamic account that takes a human being as the finest grain can work one way but if we want a dynamic account (which we do for agency) at a finer grain we have to start afresh. Biologically, this seems more or less self-evident, but that is by no means saying that biologists do this any better. 

I don't think the shift is a matter o f 'reduction' either. I think it is just that as one probes more deeply into dynamics one's metaphysical framework has to change to a more rigorous one. (I am a Leibnizian so my saying this may not surprise you.) The paradoxes of self-government and internal constraint have to be unpicked, and in a way that does not allow for sentimentality about traditional moral concepts of responsibility, I think. They may fall back into place, but they should not constrain the agenda.

The problem that we have is that at present neither philosophers nor biologists are prepared to build theories of finer grained dynamic units within persons that can carry the sort of load that traditional conceptions of agency do. Leibniz did his best and I think did as well as he could in the political climate. I think we could do better but I think philosophers and biologists need to agree that some radical re-definition of terms is in order. I suspect that we will discover these dynamic units to have aspects that are quite unexpected - like multiplicity of subjective selves and true telicity at finest grain. So not an exercise for the faint hearted.

2016-05-24
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I have tried to read your text about inner freedom, but I have to admit that I gave up after a couple of pages. It sounded just too alien to me. The reason is, for me, very simple: freedom is not a philosophical problem, and any attempt to treat it thus will sound hopelessly artificial. One major problem with philosophy is that it is made by philosophers, and I cannot speak about you since I do not know you, who go from highschool to college/university to highschool or directly back to university. The only real life most of the modern intellectuals experience is played in pubs and dancing clubs while still students. I do not think that the Jane's in the world will be helped to a better understanding of their addiction, and therefore be better armed to fight it, after reading your articles and those you refer to.
In summary, this kind of articles remind me of ancient texts where philosophers argued whether a stone that fell back to earth could be said to have a tendency to go down, or whether its action was the result of something else, external to it.
I realize that my comments are not very helpful and will understand if they are ignored altogether.