The Normative Constitution of Agency
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CitationKorsgaard, Christine M. 2014. "The Normative Constitution of Agency." In Rational and Social Agency: The Philosophy of Michael Bratman, ed. Manual Vargas and Gideon Yaffe, 190-214. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794515.003.0009
AbstractOn a naturalistic conception of agency, someone is an agent when certain of his own mental states are the cause of his movements. On a normative conception, a person constitutes his agency by following certain principles or laws. In Kant’s conception, for example, a movement counts as the agent’s own when it is chosen autonomously, that is, in accordance with the categorical imperative. To say that someone acts is to imply that his movements are a manifestation of his own activity and that it is appropriate to treat them as expressions of his identity. The explanation of these two features requires the deployment of both conceptions and a certain view of what reason is. A natural agent is faced with the problem of unifying himself so that he can count as the cause of his own movements; he solves that problem by conforming to the normative laws of reason.
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