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The other side of agency.

Reader, C. S. (2007) 'The other side of agency.', Philosophy., 82 (4). pp. 579-604.

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.

Item Type:Article
Full text:PDF - Published Version (121Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031819107000162
Publisher statement:This paper has been published by Cambridge University Press in "Philosophy" (82:4 (2007) 579-604). http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1447396 Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy 2007.
Record Created:23 May 2008
Last Modified:06 Sep 2011 11:55

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