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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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Three Theories of Self-Governance

Three Theories of Self-Governance

(p.222) Chapter 11 Three Theories of Self-Governance
Structures of Agency

Michael E. Bratman

Oxford University Press

This chapter revisits the important exchange between Harry G. Frankfurt and Gary Watson concerning the psychological structures involved in significant forms of free agency. It also aims to deepen the account of how to be a wholehearted, pluralist, self-governing agent by drawing on Joshua Cohen's interpretation of the Rawlsian “idea of reasonable pluralism.” It also develops further the central—and broadly Frankfurtian—claim that agential authority is a matter of the non-Platonic psychological role in the Lockean organization of our temporally extended agency. This is true even for those evaluative attitudes that both have agential authority and track the good: their agential authority derives from their non-Platonic psychological role. And the normal hierarchical structure of self-governing policies helps them play these Lockean organizing roles. This chapter treats the initial debate about desire, hierarchy, and value judgment as part of the debate about the psychological structures and forms of functioning that are central to human self-governance. Finally, it proposes an intention-based theory.

Keywords:   Harry G. Frankfurt, Gary Watson, psychological structures, free agency, agential authority, intention-based theory, desire, hierarchy, value judgment, self-governance

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