Agency is a
philosophicalconcept of the capacity of an agent to act in a world. The agency is considered as belonging to that agent, even if that agent represents a fictitious character, or some other non-existent entity. The capacity to act does not at first imply a specific moral dimension to the ability to make the choice to act, therefore moral agencyis a distinct concept.
Human agency is the capacity for human beings to make choices and to impose those choices on the world. It is normally contrasted to
natural forces, which are causes involving only unthinking deterministic processes. In this respect, agency is subtly distinct from the concept of free will, the philosophical doctrinethat our choices are not the product of causal chains, but are significantly free or undetermined. Human agency entails the uncontroversial, weaker claim that humans do in fact make decisions and enact them on the world. "How" humans come to make decisions, by free choice or other processes, is another issue.
The capacity of a human to act as an agent is
personal to that human, though considerations of the outcomes flowing from particular acts of human agency for us and others can then be thought to invest a moralcomponent into a given situation wherein an agent has acted, and thus to involve moral agency. If a situation is the consequence of human decision making, persons may be under a duty to apply value judgments to the consequences of their decisions, and held to be responsible for those decisions. Human agency entitles the observer to ask "should this have occurred?" in a way that would be nonsensical in circumstances lacking human decisions-makers, for example, the impact of Shoemaker-Levy into Jupiter.
In certain philosophical traditions (particularly those established by
Hegeland Marx), human agency is a collective, historical dynamic, rather than a function arising out of individual behavior. Hegel's Geistand Marx's universal classare idealistand materialistexpressions of this idea of humans treated as social beings, organized to act in concert.
Philosophy of action
Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1-26.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Agency — may refer to any of the following:*Agency (country subdivision) *Agency (law), the status of a person who acts for another person. *Agency (Mormonism) *Agency (philosophy), the capacity to make choices *Employment agency, a business that serves… … Wikipedia
Philosophy (The) of the Italian Renaissance — The philosophy of the Italian Renaissance Jill Kraye TWO CULTURES: SCHOLASTICISM AND HUMANISM IN THE EARLY RENAISSANCE Two movements exerted a profound influence on the philosophy of the Italian Renaissance: scholasticism and humanism, both of… … History of philosophy
Philosophy of social science — considers the nature of confirmation and explanation in the social (or human) sciences, such as history, economics, and sociology. Philosophers of social science are often concerned with the differences and similarities between the social and the … Wikipedia
Agency worker law — refers to a body of law which regulates the conduct of employment agencies and the labour law rights of people who get jobs through them. The typical situation involves the person going to an employment agency and then the employment agency… … Wikipedia
Philosophy of mind — A phrenological mapping of the brain. Phrenology was among the first attempts to correlate mental functions with specific parts of the brain. Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental even … Wikipedia
philosophy, Western — Introduction history of Western philosophy from its development among the ancient Greeks to the present. This article has three basic purposes: (1) to provide an overview of the history of philosophy in the West, (2) to relate… … Universalium
Existence (Philosophy of) 2 — Philosophy of existence 2 Sartre Thomas R.Flynn Born 21 June 1905, in Thiviers (Dordogne), Jean Paul Sartre was raised in the Parisian home of his widowed mother’s parents. After his mother’s remarriage, he spent several years with her and his… … History of philosophy
Feminist philosophy (french) — French feminist philosophy De Beauvoir, Kristeva, Irigaray, Le Doeuff, Cixous Alison Ainley INTRODUCTION Although women have been active philosophers for many centuries,1 the development of a specifically feminist viewpoint in the context of… … History of philosophy
Coherence (The philosophy of) — Green, Bosanquet and the philosophy of coherence Gerald F.Gaus INTRODUCTION Along with F.H.Bradley (Bradley, F.H.), T.H.Green and Bernard Bosanquet were the chief figures in what is commonly called British idealism. Bradley is widely regarded as… … History of philosophy
List of topics in social and political philosophy — * And theory of conservatism * A Conflict of Visions * A Few Words on Non Intervention * A Vindication of the Rights of Men * Accountability * Action theory * Actual Idealism * Adam Müller * Adamites * Agency (philosophy) * Aggravation of class… … Wikipedia