Agency and Patiency: Back to Nature?1

Philosophical Explorations 5 (1):59-81 (2002)
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Abstract

The distinction between acting and suffering underlies any theory of agency. Among contemporary writers, Fred Dretske is one of the few who has attempted to explicate this distinction without restricting the notion of action to intentional action alone. Aristotle also developed a global account of agency, one which is deeper and more detailed than Dretske's, and it is to Aristotle's account (with some modifications) that the bulk of this paper is devoted. Dretske's sketchier theory faces at least two ground-level problems. It is shown in the course of the paper how these can be handled by the Aristotelian account, in a way which is friendly to Dretske's approach. 1 An earlier, and fuller, version of this paper was presented at the international conference “Supervenience, Causality, Mind and Action”, Université de Provence (Aix-Marseille 1), Aix-en-Provence, 9-11 May 1999. I would like to thank Thorsteinn Gylfason, Logi Gunnarsson, Torfi Sigurdsson, Andri Björnsson and Lynne Rudder Baker for their helpful comments and criticisms. My research on causality and explanation, which forms the background for this paper, has been supported by the Icelandic Council of Science and the Research Fund of the University of Iceland.

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Citations of this work

Virtue and Meaningful Work.Ron Beadle & Kelvin Knight - 2012 - Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (2):433-450.
The other side of agency.Soran Reader - 2007 - Philosophy 82 (4):579-604.

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References found in this work

Behavior of the Lower Organisms.H. S. Jennings - 1906 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 3 (24):658-666.
Aristotle’s Physics.W. D. Ross - 1936 - Philosophy 11 (43):352-354.
Aristotle's Physics.W. D. Ross - 1936 - Mind 45 (179):378-383.
Intending.A. C. Purton - 1980 - Philosophical Quarterly 30 (118):79-80.

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