Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Human Agency

Nowhere like Crooked Timber to find interesting arguments with better modern philosophy than I got in school.

In this compound argument, John C Halasz explains causality (briefly) and human agency.  Human Agency is the modern concept replacing the archaic "free will." 

Animal organisms are self-regulating causal organizations that delimit themselves from an environment and on the basis of that relative closure, intervene causally in chains of events.  But that's merely animal motility, common to humans and rodents alike.   It's only when there is symbolic thinking that environmental events can be interpreted against a horizon of counterfactual possibilities and one such possibility can be deliberately selected and implemented.  THAT is the root of human agency, also known as Freedom.  And behind it, there has to be an structured system of rules to make that thinking, selection, and implementation possible.  Hence Freedom is fundamentally based on, and thereby constrained by, rules.  No rules, no freedom.

I'm don't think I agree with Halasz generally, I think he is somewhat right wing in his economic thinking.  But I find the human agency concept very interesting and it's surprising that I first learned of it here.

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