Economics and Philosophy 30 (1):35-56 (2014)

Authors
Ann Cudd
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
This paper presents Sen's theory of agency, focusing on the role of commitment in this theory as both problematic and potentially illuminating. His account of some commitments as goal-displacing gives rise to a dilemma given the standard philosophical theory of agency.Eithercommitment-motivated actions are externally motivated, in which case they are not expressions of agency,orsuch actions are internally motivated, in which case the commitment is not goal-displacing. I resolve this dilemma and accommodate his view of commitment as motivation by developing a broader descriptive theory of agency, which recognizes both agent goal-directed and goal-displacing commitments. I propose a type of goal-displacing commitment, which I call ‘tacit commitment’, that can be seen to fit between the horns. Tacit commitments regulate behaviour without being made conscious and explicit. This resolution suggests a means of bridging the normative/descriptive gap in social-scientific explanation.
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DOI 10.1017/s0266267114000030
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References found in this work BETA

Rationality and Freedom.Amartya Sen - 2005 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 67 (1):182-183.
Well-Being, Agency and Freedom: The Dewey Lectures 1984.Amartya Sen - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (4):169-221.
Rights and Agency.Amartya Sen - 1982 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 11 (1):3-39.
On Ethics and Economics.Amartya Sen - 1989 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 51 (4):722-723.
Morals by Agreement.David Copp - 1986 - Philosophical Review 98 (3):411-414.

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Citations of this work BETA

Can Commitments Cause Counterpreferential Choices?Michael Messerli & Kevin Reuter - forthcoming - Journal of Economic Methodology:1-13.

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