Inquiry 52 (3):217-231 (2009)
Are animals agents? This question demands a prior answer to the question of what an agent is. The paper argues that we ought not to think of this as merely a matter of choosing from a range of alternative definitional stipulations. Evidence from developmental psychology is offered in support of the view that a basic concept of agency is a very early natural acquisition, which is established prior to the development of any full-blown propositional attitude concepts. Then it is argued that whatever one makes of the developmental evidence, it is in any case arguable on other grounds that the concept of agency as we have it in adulthood remains perfectly comprehensible independently of any reference to the more sophisticated propositional attitudes. Any reluctance we might feel to ascribe such things as beliefs to non-human animals, therefore, need not stand in the way of the claim that they are agents, nevertheless. The paper attempts to characterise the core of this basic agency concept, and discusses, albeit briefly, the question how we ought to decide which animals are to be thought of as falling under it. It concludes with some speculations about the nature of the intellectual currents which have made the shape of this important concept so hard for us to discern.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
Infants Selectively Encode the Goal Object of an Actor's Reach.A. Woodward - 1998 - Cognition 69 (1):1-34.
Taking the Intentional Stance at 12 Months of Age.György Gergely, Zoltán Nádasdy, Gergely Csibra & Szilvia Bíró - 1995 - Cognition 56 (2):165-193.
Teleological Reasoning in Infancy: The Naı̈ve Theory of Rational Action.György Gergely & Gergely Csibra - 2003 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (7):287-292.
Do Six-Month-Old Infants Perceive Causality?Alan M. Leslie & Stephanie Keeble - 1987 - Cognition 25 (3):265-288.
Citations of this work BETA
Should Whiteheadians Be Vegetarians? A Critical Analysis of the Thoughts of Hartshorne and Dombrowski.Jan Deckers - 2011 - Journal of Animal Ethics 1 (2):195-209.
Normativity, Agency, and Life.James Barham - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):92-103.
Are We Agents at All? Helen Steward's Agency Incompatibilism.Neil Levy - 2013 - Inquiry 56 (4):1-14.
Normativity, Agency, and Life.James Barham - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):92-103.
Similar books and articles
Animals and Agency: An Interdisciplinary Exploration.Sarah E. McFarland & Ryan Hediger (eds.) - 2009 - Brill.
Moral Agency in Other Animals.Paul Shapiro - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (4):357-373.
Fully Unconscious and Prone to Habit: The Characteristics of Agency in the Structure and Agency Dialectic.Sadiya Akram - 2013 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 43 (1):45-65.
Who Speaks for the Animals?: Heidegger and the Question of Animal Welfare.Frank Schalow - 2000 - Environmental Ethics 22 (3):259-271.
Animals, Agency, and Absence : A Discourse Analysis of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Meetings.Debra Durham & Debra Merskin - 2009 - In Sarah E. McFarland & Ryan Hediger (eds.), Animals and Agency: An Interdisciplinary Exploration. Brill.
Does Fish Welfare Matter? On the Moral Relevance of Agency.Frederike Kaldewaij - 2013 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (1):63-74.
Knowing What I'm About to Do Without Evidence.Robert Dunn - 1998 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 6 (2):231 – 252.
Attitudes to Animals: Views in Animal Welfare.Francine L. Dolins (ed.) - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
Constitutivism and the Inescapability of Agency.Luca Ferrero - 2009 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:303-333.
The Use of Animals in Medical Education and Research.Donnie J. Self - 1989 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 10 (1).
Added to index2010-08-26
Total downloads105 ( #46,072 of 2,153,857 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #184,516 of 2,153,857 )
How can I increase my downloads?