Agency

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  1. Action Explanation and its Presuppositions.Lilian O’Brien - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (1):123-146.
    In debates about rationalizing action explanation causalists assume that the psychological states that explain an intentional action have both causal and rational features. I scrutinize the presuppositions of those who seek and offer rationalizing action explanations. This scrutiny shows, I argue, that where rational features play an explanatory role in these contexts, causal features play only a presuppositional role. But causal features would have to play an explanatory role if rationalizing action explanation were a species of causal explanation. Consequently, we (...)
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  2. Agent-Causal Libertarianism, Statistical Neural Laws and Wild Coincidences.Jason D. Runyan - 2017 - Synthese 195 (10):4563-4580.
    Agent-causal libertarians maintain we are irreducible agents who, by acting, settle matters that aren’t already settled. This implies that the neural matters underlying the exercise of our agency don’t conform to deterministic laws, but it does not appear to exclude the possibility that they conform to statistical laws. However, Pereboom (Noûs 29:21–45, 1995; Living without free will, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001; in: Nadelhoffer (ed) The future of punishment, Oxford University Press, New York, 2013) has argued that, if these neural (...)
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  3. Was There a Scientific ’68? Its Repercussion on Action Research and Mixing Methods.José Andrés-Gallego - 2018 - Arbor 194 (787):436: 1-10.
    The author asks whether there was a “scientific ‘68”, and focuses on aspects of two specific methodological proposals defined in the 1940s and 50s by the terms “action research” and “mixing methods”, applied particularly to social sciences. In the first, the climate surrounding the events of 1968 contributed to heightening the participative element to be found –by definition– in “action research”; that is: the importance of making the research subjects themselves participants in the design, execution and application of the study (...)
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  4. Agency, Qualia and Life: Connecting Mind and Body Biologically.David Longinotti - 2018 - In Vincent C. Müller (ed.), Philosophy and Theory of Artificial Intelligence 2017. Cham: Springer. pp. 43-56.
    Many believe that a suitably programmed computer could act for its own goals and experience feelings. I challenge this view and argue that agency, mental causation and qualia are all founded in the unique, homeostatic nature of living matter. The theory was formulated for coherence with the concept of an agent, neuroscientific data and laws of physics. By this method, I infer that a successful action is homeostatic for its agent and can be caused by a feeling - which does (...)
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  5. Ramsey and Joyce on Deliberation and Prediction.Yang Liu & Huw Price - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    Can an agent deliberating about an action A hold a meaningful credence that she will do A? 'No', say some authors, for 'Deliberation Crowds Out Prediction' (DCOP). Others disagree, but we argue here that such disagreements are often terminological. We explain why DCOP holds in a Ramseyian operationalist model of credence, but show that it is trivial to extend this model so that DCOP fails. We then discuss a model due to Joyce, and show that Joyce's rejection of DCOP rests (...)
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  6. Agency and Embodiment: Groups, Human–Machine Interactions, and Virtual Realities.Johannes Himmelreich - 2016 - Ratio:197-213.
    This paper develops a taxonomy of kinds of actions that can be seen in group agency, human–machine interactions, and virtual realities. These kinds of actions are special in that they are not embodied in the ordinary sense. I begin by analysing the notion of embodiment into three separate assumptions that together comprise what I call the Embodiment View. Although this view may find support in paradigmatic cases of agency, I suggest that each of its assumptions can be relaxed. With each (...)
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  7. Evaluative Beliefs First.Ben Bramble - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 8.
    Many philosophers think that it is only because we happen to want or care about things that we think some things of value. We start off caring about things, and then project these desires onto the external world. In this chapter, I make a preliminary case for the opposite view, that it is our evaluative thinking that is prior or comes first. On this view, it is only because we think some things of value that we care about or want (...)
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  8. What is It Like to Be a Group Agent?Christian List - 2016 - Noûs:295-319.
    The existence of group agents is relatively widely accepted. Examples are corporations, courts, NGOs, and even entire states. But should we also accept that there is such a thing as group consciousness? I give an overview of some of the key issues in this debate and sketch a tentative argument for the view that group agents lack phenomenal consciousness. In developing my argument, I draw on integrated information theory, a much-discussed theory of consciousness. I conclude by pointing out an implication (...)
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  9. Clinical Guidelines as Plans: An Ontological Theory.Anand Kumar, Barry Smith, Domenica Pisanelli, Aldo Gangemi & Mario Stefanelli - 2006 - Methods of Information in Medicine 45 (2):204-210.
    Clinical guidelines are special types of plans realized by collective agents. We provide an ontological theory of such plans that is designed to support the construction of a framework in which guideline-based information systems can be employed in the management of workflow in health care organizations. The framework we propose allows us to represent in formal terms how clinical guidelines are realized through the actions of are realized through the actions of individuals organized into teams. We provide various levels of (...)
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  10. Implied Consent and Sexual Assault: Intimate Relationships, Autonomy, and Voice by Michael Plaxton. [REVIEW]Lucinda Vandervort - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 28:697-702.
    This is a review and critical commentary on Michael Plaxton's 2015 book, Implied Consent and Sexual Assault, in which he proposes that the legal definition of sexual consent be amended to permit sexual partners to define the terms and conditions of sexual consent in accordance with private "normative commitments" between themselves. The proposed "reform" is intended to permit an individual to agree to be a party to sexual activity that would otherwise constitute sexual assault under Canadian law. For reasons explained (...)
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  11. Naturalism, Minimalism, and the Scope of Nietzsche's Philosophical Psychology.Paul Katsafanas - 2016 - In Kristin Gjesdal (ed.), Debates in Nineteenth-Century European Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 326-338.
    Bernard Williams’ “Nietzsche’s Minimalist Moral Psychology”, replete with provocative and insightful claims, has been extremely influential in Nietzsche scholarship. In the two decades since its publication, much of the most interesting and philosophically sophisticated work on Nietzsche has focused on exactly the topics that Williams addresses: Nietzsche’s moral psychology, his account of action, his naturalistic commitments, and the way in which these topics interact with his critique of traditional morality. While Williams’ pronouncements on these topics are brief and at times (...)
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  12. Explaining Actions and Explaining Bodily Movements.Maria Alvares - 2013 - In G. D’Oro, A. Laitinen & C. Sandis (eds.), Reasons and Causes. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 141-159.
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  13. Character, Will, and Agency.Roman Altshuler - 2016 - In Jonathan Webber & Alberto Masala (eds.), From Personality to Virtue: Essays on the Philosophy of Character. Oxford University Press. pp. 62-80.
    Character and the will are rarely discussed together. At most, philosophers working on the one mention the other in an eliminativist vein—if character is represented as something chosen, for example, it can be chalked up to the work of the will; if the will consists merely of a certain arrangement of mental states, it can be seen as little more than a manifestation of character. This mutual neglect appears perfectly justified. If both character and will are determinants of action, to (...)
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  14. Making Something Happen. Where Causation and Agency Meet.Geert Keil - 2007 - In Francesca Castellani & Josef Quitterer (eds.), Agency and Causation in the Human Sciences. Mentis. pp. 19-35.
    1. Introduction: a look back at the reasons vs. causes debate. 2. The interventionist account of causation. 3. Four objections to interventionism. 4. The counterfactual analysis of event causation. 5. The role of free agency. 6. Causality in the human sciences. -- The reasons vs. causes debate reached its peak about 40 years ago. Hempel and Dray had debated the nature of historical explanation and the broader issue of whether explanations that cite an agent’s reasons are causal or not. Melden, (...)
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  15. Carl Ginet, On Action. [REVIEW]Karl Pfeifer - 1992 - Philosophy in Review 12:196-199.
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  16. The Free Actions of Glorified Saints.Richard Tamburro - 2014 - Dissertation, University of York
    This project examines whether we can consistently make two claims: i) God cannot prevent sin without destroying free will; and ii) in heaven, God prevents sin without destroying free will. It explores the conditions under which agents may be said to be acting freely, guided by consideration of the free will defence to the problem of evil. This involves considering prominent themes in the philosophy of action, and in the metaphysics of free will. It develops, and defends, a non-causal incompatibilist (...)
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  17. How Do We Ever Get Up? On the Proximate Causation of Actions and Events.Grazer Philosophise he Studien - 2001 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 61 (1):43.
    Many candidates have been tried out as proximate causes of actions: belief-desire pairs, volitions, motives, intentions, and other kinds of pro-attitudes. None of these mental states or events, however, seems to be able to do the trick, that is, to get things going. Each of them may occur without an appropriate action ensuing. After reviewing several attempts at closing the alleged “causal gap”, it is argued that on a correct analysis, there is no missing link waiting to be discovered. On (...)
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  18. Augmentation, Agency, and the Spreading of the Mental State.Zoe Drayson & Andy Clark - unknown
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  19. Agency and Two‐Way Powers.Maria Alvarez - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (1pt1):101-121.
    In this paper I propose a way of characterizing human agency in terms of the concept of a two-way power. I outline this conception of agency, defend it against some objections, and briefly indicate how it relates to free agency and to moral praise- and blameworthiness.
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  20. What Do Deviant Causal Chains Deviate From?Geert Keil - 2007 - In Christoph Lumer & Sandro Nannini (eds.), Intention, Deliberation and Autonomy. Ashgate. pp. 69-90.
    The problem of deviant causal chains is endemic to any theory of action that makes definitional or explanatory use of a causal connection between an agent’s beliefs and pro-attitudes and his bodily movements. Other causal theories of intentional phenomena are similarly plagued. The aim of this chapter is twofold. First, to defend Davidson’s defeatism. In his treatment of deviant causal chains, Davidson makes use of the clause “in the right way” to rule out causal waywardness, but he regards any attempt (...)
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  21. The Case for Zombie Agency.Wayne Wu - 2013 - Mind 122 (485):217-230.
    In response to Mole 2009, I present an argument for zombie action. The crucial question is not whether but rather to what extent we are zombie agents. I argue that current evidence supports only minimal zombie agency.
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  22. On Epistemic Agency.Kristoffer Ahlstrom - 2010 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    Every time we act in an effort to attain our epistemic goals, we express our epistemic agency. The present study argues that a proper understanding of the actions and goals relevant to expressions of such agency can be used to make ameliorative recommendations about how the ways in which we actually express our agency can be brought in line with how we should express our agency. More specifically, it is argued that the actions relevant to such expressions should be identified (...)
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  23. Review of "Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity", by Christine M. Korsgaard, 2009. [REVIEW]Markus E. Schlosser - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):212-214.
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  24. Theories of Team Agency.Robert Sugden & Natalie Gold - unknown
    We explore the idea that a group or ‘team’ of individuals can be an agent in its own right and that, when this is the case, individual team members use team reasoning, a distinctive mode of reasoning from that of standard decision theory. Our approach is to represent team reasoning explicitly, by means of schemata of practical reasoning in which conclusions about what actions should be taken are inferred from premises about the decision environment and about what agents are seeking (...)
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  25. Autonomous Agency and the Threat of Social Psychology.Eddy Nahmias - 2007 - In M. Marraffa, M. Caro & F. Ferretti (eds.), Cartographies of the Mind: Philosophy and Psychology in Intersection. Springer.
    This chapter discusses how research in situationist social psychology may pose largely undiscussed threats to autonomous agency, free will, and moral responsibility.
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  26. From Self Psychology to Moral Philosophy.J. David Velleman - 2000 - Philosophical Perspectives 14 (s14):349-377.
    I have therefore decided to venture out of the philosophical armchair in order to examine the empirical evidence, as gathered by psychologists aiming to prove or disprove motivational conjectures like mine. By and large, this evidence is indirect in relation to my account of agency, since it is drawn from cases in which the relevant motive has been forced into the open by the manipulations of an experimenter. The resulting evidence doesn’t tend to show the mechanism of agency humming along (...)
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  27. Action.Luca Ferrero - 2009 - In John Shand (ed.), Central Issues of Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 137-151.
    An introductory survey of the contemporary philosophy of action.
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  28. Agency, Ownership, and the Standard Theory.Markus E. Schlosser - 2010 - In A. Buckareff, J. Aguilar & K. Frankish (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Action. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 13-31.
    The causal theory of action has been the standard view in the philosophy of action and mind. In this chapter, I will present responses to two challenges to the theory. The first says, basically, that there is no positive argument in favour of the causal theory, as the only reason that supports it consists in the apparent lack of tenable alternatives. The second challenge says that the theory fails to capture the phenomenon of agency, as it reduces activity to mere (...)
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Agency, Misc
  1. Dual-System Theory and the Role of Consciousness in Intentional Action.Markus E. Schlosser - forthcoming - In Bernard Feltz, Marcus Missal & Andrew Sims (eds.), Free Will, Causality and Neuroscience. Brill Editions.
    According to the standard view in philosophy, intentionality is the mark of genuine action. In psychology, human cognition and agency are now widely explained in terms of the workings of two distinct systems (or types of processes), and intentionality is not a central notion in this dual-system theory. Further, it is often claimed, in psychology, that most human actions are automatic, rather than consciously controlled. This raises pressing questions. Does the dual-system theory preserve the philosophical account of intentional action? How (...)
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  2. Psychopathy, Agency, and Practical Reason.Monique Wonderly - forthcoming - In Ruth Chang & Kurt Sylvan (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason. New York, USA: Routledge.
    Philosophers have urged that considerations about the psychopath’s capacity for practical rationality can help to advance metaethical debates. These debates include the role of rational faculties in moral judgment and action, the relationship between moral judgment and moral motivation, and the capacities required for morally responsible agency. I discuss how the psychopath’s capacity for practical reason features in these debates, and I identify several takeaway lessons from the relevant literature. Specifically, I show how the insights contained therein can illuminate the (...)
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  3. Philosophical Signposts for Artificial Moral Agent Frameworks.Robert James M. Boyles - 2017 - Suri 6 (2):92–109.
    This article focuses on a particular issue under machine ethics—that is, the nature of Artificial Moral Agents. Machine ethics is a branch of artificial intelligence that looks into the moral status of artificial agents. Artificial moral agents, on the other hand, are artificial autonomous agents that possess moral value, as well as certain rights and responsibilities. This paper demonstrates that attempts to fully develop a theory that could possibly account for the nature of Artificial Moral Agents may consider certain philosophical (...)
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  4. Rational and Social Agency: The Philosophy of Michael Bratman, Edited by Manuel Vargas and Gideon Yaffe.Michael Brent - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (3):371-374.
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  5. Embodied Cognition and Temporally Extended Agency.Markus E. Schlosser - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2089-2112.
    According to radical versions of embodied cognition, human cognition and agency should be explained without the ascription of representational mental states. According to a standard reply, accounts of embodied cognition can explain only instances of cognition and agency that are not “representation-hungry”. Two main types of such representation-hungry phenomena have been discussed: cognition about “the absent” and about “the abstract”. Proponents of representationalism have maintained that a satisfactory account of such phenomena requires the ascription of mental representations. Opponents have denied (...)
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  6. The Nietzschean Precedent for Anti-Reflective, Dialogical Agency.Alfano Mark - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
    John Doris and Friedrich Nietzsche have a lot in common. In addition to being provocative and humorous writers in their native idioms, they share a conception of human agency. It can be tiresome to point out the priority claims of an earlier philosopher, so I should say at the outset that I do so not to smugly insist that my guy got there first but to showcase a closely-allied perspective that may shed additional light and offer glimpses around blind corners. (...)
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  7. The Anxious Mind: An Investigation Into the Varieties and Virtues of Anxiety.Charlie Kurth - 2018 - Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    This book is about the various forms of anxiety—some familiar, some not—that color and shape our lives. The objective is two-fold. The first aim is to deepen our understanding of what anxiety is. The second aim is to re-orient thinking about the role of emotions in moral psychology and ethical theory. Here I argue that the current focus on backward looking moral emotions like guilt and shame leaves us with a picture that is badly incomplete. To get a better understanding (...)
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  8. Legal Agreements and the Capacities of Agents.Andrei Buckareff - 2014 - In Law and the Philosophy of Action. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. pp. 195-219.
    Most work at the intersection of law and the philosophy of action focuses on criminal responsibility. Unfortunately, this focus has been at the expense of reflecting on how the philosophy of action might help illuminate our understanding of issues in civil law. In this essay, focusing on Anglo-American jurisprudence, we examine the conditions under which a party to a legal agreement is deemed to have the capacity required to be bound by that agreement. We refer to this condition as the (...)
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  9. Towards a Definition of Efforts.Olivier Massin - 2017 - Motivation Science 3 (3):230-259.
    Although widely used across psychology, economics, and philosophy, the concept ofeffort is rarely ever defined. This article argues that the time is ripe to look for anexplicit general definition of effort, makes some proposals about how to arrive at thisdefinition, and suggests that a force-based approach is the most promising. Section 1presents an interdisciplinary overview of some chief research axes on effort, and arguesthat few, if any, general definitions have been proposed so far. Section 2 argues thatsuch a definition is (...)
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  10. Accountability and Intervening Agency: An Asymmetry Between Upstream and Downstream Actors.Saba Bazargan-Forward - 2017 - Utilitas 29 (1):110-114.
    Suppose someone (P1) does something that is wrongful only in virtue of the risk that it will enable another person (P2) to commit a wrongdoing. Suppose further that P1’s conduct does indeed turn out to enable P2’s wrongdoing. The resulting wrong is agentially mediated: P1 is an enabling agent and P2 is an intervening agent. Whereas the literature on intervening agency focuses on whether P2’s status as an intervening agent makes P1’s conduct less bad, I turn this issue on its (...)
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  11. One Self Per Customer? From Disunified Agency to Disunified Self.David Lumsden & Joseph Ulatowski - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (3):314-335.
    The notion of an agent and the notion of a self are connected, for agency is one role played by the self. Millgram argues for a disunity thesis of agency on the basis of extreme incommensurability across some major life events. We propose a similar negative thesis about the self, that it is composed of relatively independent threads reflecting the different roles and different mind-sets of the person's life. Our understanding of those threads is based on theories of the narrative (...)
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  12. Agentive Modals.Matthew Mandelkern, Ginger Schultheis & David Boylan - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (3):301-343.
    This essay proposes a new theory of agentive modals: ability modals and their duals, compulsion modals. After criticizing existing approaches—the existential quantificational analysis, the universal quantificational analysis, and the conditional analysis—it presents a new account that builds on both the existential and conditional analyses. On this account, the act conditional analysis, a sentence like ‘John can swim across the river’ says that there is some practically available action that is such that if John tries to do it, he swims across (...)
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  13. How to Tell If a Group is an Agent.Philip Pettit - 2014 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Essays in Collective Epistemology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 97-121.
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  14. Rational Agency Without Self‐Knowledge: Could ‘We’ Replace ‘I’?Luke Roelofs - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (1):3-33.
    It has been claimed that we need singular self-knowledge to function properly as rational agents. I argue that this is not strictly true: agents in certain relations could dispense with singular self-knowledge and instead rely on plural self-knowledge. In defending the possibility of this kind of ‘selfless agent’, I thereby defend the possibility of a certain kind of ‘seamless’ collective agency; agency in a group of agents who have no singular self-knowledge, who do not know which member of the group (...)
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  15. Embedded Mental Action in Self-Attribution of Belief.Antonia Peacocke - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (2):353-377.
    You can come to know that you believe that p partly by reflecting on whether p and then judging that p. Call this procedure “the transparency method for belief.” How exactly does the transparency method generate known self-attributions of belief? To answer that question, we cannot interpret the transparency method as involving a transition between the contents p and I believe that p. It is hard to see how some such transition could be warranted. Instead, in this context, one mental (...)
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  16. FIVE STEPS TO RESPONSIBILITY.Lisanyuk Elena - 2013 - Revista da Faculdade de Direito da UFMG 63:125-149.
    Responsibility has entered the academic discourse of logicians hardly more than few decades ago. I suggest a logical concept of responsibility which employs ideas both from a number of theories belonging to different branches of logic as well from other academic areas. As a comment to this concept, I suggest five steps narrative scenario in order to show how the logical dimension of responsibility emerges from diverse tendencies in logic and other sciences. Here are the five steps briefly stated: Step (...)
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  17. Quantum Anthropology: Man, Cultures, and Groups in a Quantum Perspective.Radek Trnka & Radmila Lorencova - 2016 - Charles University Karolinum Press.
    This philosophical anthropology tries to explore the basic categories of man’s being in the worlds using a special quantum meta-ontology that is introduced in the book. Quantum understanding of space and time, consciousness, or empirical/nonempirical reality elicits new questions relating to philosophical concerns such as subjectivity, free will, mind, perception, experience, dialectic, or agency. The authors have developed an inspiring theoretical framework transcending the boundaries of particular disciplines, e.g. quantum philosophy, metaphysics of consciousness, philosophy of mind, phenomenology of space and (...)
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  18. Surviving Evils and the Problem of Agency: An Essay Inspired by the Work of Claudia Card.Diana Tietjens Meyers - 2016 - Metaphilosophy 47 (4-5):539-557.
    Claudia Card did not live long enough to complete her work on surviving evils. Yet she left us an invaluable body of work on this topic. This paper surveys Card’s views about the nature of evils and the ethical quandaries of surviving them. It then develops an account of survival agency that is based on Card’s insights and in keeping with the agentic capacities exercised by Yezidi women and girls who have escaped from ISIS’s obscene program of trafficking in women (...)
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  19. Agentive Phenomenology.Myrto Mylopoulos & Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
    In this chapter we reflect on questions about the nature and sources of agentive phenomenology – that is, the set of those experience-types associated with exercises of agency, and paradigmatically with intentional actions. Our discussion begins with pioneering work in psychology and neuroscience that dates to the early 80s (section 1). As we will see, much of the current work on agentive phenomenology in both psychology and philosophy draws motivation from this work, and the questions it raises. After discussing empirical (...)
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  20. Distributed Cognition and Distributed Morality: Agency, Artifacts and Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2017 - Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (2):431-448.
    There are various philosophical approaches and theories describing the intimate relation people have to artifacts. In this paper, I explore the relation between two such theories, namely distributed cognition and distributed morality theory. I point out a number of similarities and differences in these views regarding the ontological status they attribute to artifacts and the larger systems they are part of. Having evaluated and compared these views, I continue by focussing on the way cognitive artifacts are used in moral practice. (...)
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  21. Collectives’ and Individuals’ Obligations: A Parity Argument.Stephanie Collins & Holly Lawford-Smith - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (1):38-58.
    Individuals have various kinds of obligations: keep promises, don’t cause harm, return benefits received from injustices, be partial to loved ones, help the needy and so on. How does this work for group agents? There are two questions here. The first is whether groups can bear the same kinds of obligations as individuals. The second is whether groups’ pro tanto obligations plug into what they all-things-considered ought to do to the same degree that individuals’ pro tanto obligations plug into what (...)
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  22. Believing Where the Action Is: Reply to van Leeuwen. Dohrn - manuscript
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