Cares, Identification, and Agency Reductionism

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):577-598 (2017)
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Reductionists about agency maintain that an agent’s causing something is reducible to states and events involving the agent causing something. Some worry that reductionism cannot accommodate robust forms of agency, such as self-determination. One reductionist answer to this worry, which I call ‘identification reductionism,’ contends that self-governing agents are identified with certain attitudes, and so these attitudes’ causing a decision count as the agent’s self-determining the decision. I argue that a prominent species of identification reductionism developed by Harry Frankfurt, Agnieszka Jaworska, Jeffrey Seidman, and David Shoemaker—according to which an agent is identified with his (deepest) cares—is inadequate.



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Agency: Let's Mind What's Fundamental.Robert H. Wallace - 2023 - Philosophical Issues 33 (1):285–298.

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References found in this work

Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
Free agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (April):205-20.
What Happens When Someone Acts?J. David Velleman - 1992 - Mind 101 (403):461-481.
The Possibility of Practical Reason.J. David Velleman - 2000 - Philosophical Studies 121 (3):263-275.

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