Understanding Agency: Social Theory and Responsible Action


Source: Sasin Tipchai


If we look closely at how ‘agency’, ‘choice’, ‘free will’ and related options are routinely used in the context of everyday life, we find so much complexity and variation that it is tempting to deny the possibility of giving any general account of it. Even if we confine our attention to the core of settled usage, and ignore, for example, the many individuals who use voluntaristic concepts to speak of their dogs or their computers, the problem remains. Generalisations about settled usage are idealizations which oversimplify what they purport to describe. Nonetheless, generalisation of just this kind is what will be engaged in here: an account will be given of characteristic features of usage, even whilst recognising the limitations of any such account.

Perhaps the most characteristic feature of the everyday voluntaristic discourse wherein these notions….


By Barry Barnes

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