The other side of agency

Philosophy 82 (4):579-604 (2007)
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Abstract

In our philosophical tradition and our wider culture, we tend to think of persons as agents. This agential conception is flattering, but in this paper I will argue that it conceals a more complex truth about what persons are. In 1. I set the issues in context. In 2. I critically explore four features commonly presented as fundamental to personhood in versions of the agential conception: action, capability, choice and independence. In 3. I argue that each of these agential features presupposes a non-agential feature: agency presupposes patiency, capability presupposes incapability, choice presupposes necessity and independence presupposes dependency. In 4. I argue that such non-agential features, as well as being implicit within the agential conception, are as apt to be constitutive of personhood as agential features, and in 5. I conclude

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Citations of this work

Situated agency: towards an affordance-based, sensorimotor theory of action.Martin Weichold - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (4):761-785.
Relational agency: Relational sociology, agency and interaction.Ian Burkitt - 2016 - European Journal of Social Theory 19 (3):322-339.
Human Needs: Overview.Michael A. Dover - 2016 - Oxford//NASW Encyclopedia of Social Work.
Moral Ecology, Disabilities, and Human Agency.Kevin Timpe - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (1):17-41.

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References found in this work

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Mind and World.John Mcdowell - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):99-109.
Justice as fairness: Political not metaphysical.John Rawls - 1985 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 14 (3):223-251.

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