Doing Away with the Agential Bias: Agency and Patiency in Health Monitoring Applications

Philosophy and Technology 32 (1):135-154 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Mobile health devices pose novel questions at the intersection of philosophy and technology. Many such applications not only collect sensitive data, but also aim at persuading users to change their lifestyle for the better. A major concern is that persuasion is paternalistic as it intentionally aims at changing the agent’s actions, chipping away at their autonomy. This worry roots in the philosophical conviction that perhaps the most salient feature of living autonomous lives is displayed via agency as opposed to patiency—our lives go well in virtue of what we do, rather than what happens to us. Being persuaded by a device telling us how to conduct our lives seemingly renders the agent passive, an inert recipient of technological commands. This agential bias, however, has led to a marginalization of patiential characteristics that are just as much part of our lives as are agential characteristics. To appreciate the inherent interlocking of acting and being acted upon, it is vital to acknowledge that agency and patiency are correlates, not mutually exclusive opposites. Furthermore, it is unclear whether an action can only count as agential so long as its causes are internal. Drawing on the extended mind and extended will framework, I argue that mHealth applications merely serve as volitional aids to the agent’s internal cognition. Autonomously set goals can be achieved more effectively via technology. To be persuaded by an mHealth device does not mainly—let alone exclusively—emphasize patiency; on the contrary, it can be an effective tool for technologically enhancing agency.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,662

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Other Side of Agency.Soran Reader - 2007 - Philosophy 82 (4):579-604.
Causes of Illness in Clinical Practice: A Conceptual Exploration. [REVIEW]Stephen Tyreman - 2006 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 9 (3):285-291.
Agency, Patiency, and The Good Life: The Passivities Objection to Eudaimonism.Micah Lott - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3):773-786.
Non-Rational Aspects of Skilled Agency.Yannig Luthra - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2267-2289.
Agency and Patiency: Back to Nature?1.Mikael M. Karlsson - 2002 - Philosophical Explorations 5 (1):59-81.
Privacy by Design in Personal Health Monitoring.Anders Nordgren - 2015 - Health Care Analysis 23 (2):148-164.
A Metacognitive Model of the Feeling of Agency Over Bodily Actions.Glenn Carruthers - forthcoming - Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research and Practice.
Agency and Patiency: Back to Nature?Mikael M. Karlsson - 2002 - Philosophical Explorations 5 (1):59 – 81.

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-04-23

Downloads
30 (#386,712)

6 months
1 (#419,921)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Nils-Frederic Wagner
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

References found in this work

The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
Minds: Extended or Scaffolded?Kim Sterelny - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):465-481.
Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist 56 (1):64-84.
Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist.

View all 28 references / Add more references