Structures of Agency: Essays

Oxford University Press (2007)
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Abstract

This is a collection of published and unpublished essays by distinguished philosopher Michael E. Bratman of Stanford University. They revolve around his influential theory, know as the "planning theory of intention and agency." Bratman's primary concern is with what he calls "strong" forms of human agency--including forms of human agency that are the target of our talk about self-determination, self-government, and autonomy. These essays are unified and cohesive in theme, and will be of interest to philosophers in ethics and metaphysics

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Chapters

Two Problems about Human Agency

This chapter distinguishes agential authority from subjective normative authority, argues that a theory of strong forms of human agency needs to provide a coordinated treatment of both, and explains how an appeal to higher-order self-governing policies aims to do this. A basic role of self... see more

Nozick on Free Will

The idea of a reflexive self-governing policy that can be underdetermined by value judgment, and that plays a role in Lockean identity, is similar in important respects to Robert Nozick's idea of a “self-subsuming decision that bestows weights to reasons.” Nozick develops this idea in his ... see more

A Desire of One's Own

In his 1971 article, “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person,” Harry G. Frankfurt pointed to a deep problem in the philosophy of action and sketched an attractive proposal for a solution. The problem arises when we take seriously the idea that you can sometimes have and be moved b... see more

Temptation Revisited

This chapter extends the accounts of valuing and of agential authority to puzzles about rational willpower in the face of temptation. It explores two approaches, one that focuses on the agential authority of certain policies of action, and one that focuses on the reasonable stability of su... see more

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Michael Bratman
Stanford University

Citations of this work

Agency.Markus Schlosser - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Myth of Practical Consistency.Niko Kolodny - 2008 - European Journal of Philosophy 16 (3):366-402.
Modest Sociality and the Distinctiveness of Intention.Michael E. Bratman - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (1):149-165.
Imperative Inference and Practical Rationality.Daniel W. Harris - 2021 - Philosophical Studies (4):1065-1090.

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