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The Constitution of AgencyEssays on Practical Reason and Moral Psychology$
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Christine M. Korsgaard

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199552733

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552733.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Constitution of Agency

Christine M. Korsgaard (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter summarizes the themes of the book. It explains the general idea of self-constitution: that we constitute our agency by choosing our actions in accordance with the principles of practical reason. It sketches the main types of principles of practical reason, and raises some problems about the concept of rational prudence. It advances a theory of the normativity of rational principles based on the idea that they are constitutive standards of action. It discusses the role of the idea of virtue within ethical theory, and the possibility of conjoining an Aristotelian theory of virtue with Kant's ethics. It raises issues about the connection between individual agency and the agency of the state, explains the connection between Hume's conception of agency and Kant and Aristotle's, and discusses the methodological idea of constructivism.

Keywords:   agency, Aristotle, constitutive standard, constructivist, Hume, Kant, normativity, Plato, practical reason, virtue

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