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Structures of AgencyEssays$
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Michael E. Bratman

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195187717

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195187717.001.0001

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Autonomy and Hierarchy

Autonomy and Hierarchy

Chapter:
(p.162) Chapter 8 Autonomy and Hierarchy
Source:
Structures of Agency
Author(s):

Michael E. Bratman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195187717.003.0008

This chapter explores multiple philosophical pressures in the direction of conative hierarchy as an element in autonomous agency. A central idea is that there is, in autonomy, a certain transparency of relevant psychological functioning of self-governing policies to their content. So the self-management function of self-governing policies leads to a hierarchical content of those policies. This might seem in tension with the idea that it is the role of self-governing policies in Lockean cross-temporal organization—not a content that is explicitly about one's identity—that is central to their agential authority. But this tension is only apparent. Even in a case of autonomy in which its own role in Lockean identity is internalized in the content of the self-governing policy, it is not this content but this role that grounds the agential authority of that policy (though this content may contribute to this role). And an attitude whose content was a self-conception, but which did not play this role, would not have agential authority.

Keywords:   conative hierarchy, autonomous agency, autonomy, self-governing policies, cross-temporal organization, agential authority, identity, content

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