writing assignment 4 - Since the agent is unique to each...

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According to Joel Feinberg, in Reason and Responsibility, the theory of agency is “the view that although human behavior is caused, not every chain of causes and effects are infinite; some causal chains begin with agents themselves.” For example, the agent does cause the act, but is not caused to cause the act. Since the agent is able to control himself to do otherwise, freedom is not being determined and the actions can be attributed to the agent. In the case of an action that is free, it must be such that it is caused by the agent who performed it, but such that no prior conditions were there for his performing that action. When a person believes that they have done something, they believe that it was their actual self that caused it or made it happen, and not simply something within themselves.
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Unformatted text preview: Since the agent is unique to each person and is not affected by previous conditions, the greatest strength of the theory of agency is that people can be held accountable for their actions and thus be held morally responsible. For example, lets say if someone believes that they are the actual originator of their actions. These acts, although caused by that person, are not the expected events of previous conditions. They were genuinely created as a first cause of their actions. If this theory of agency is true, that our decisions are self-originating and not the causal product of what happened before, it enables us to break away from determinism, in which every action, desire, and thought is the consequence of previous conditions, and thus hold us morally responsible for our actions....
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2010 for the course ECON 330 taught by Professor Minetti during the Fall '08 term at Michigan State University.

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