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Agency: Moral Identity and Free Will

 Agency: Moral Identity and Free Will David Weissman
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-875-4 £16.95
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There is agency in all we do: thinking, doing, or making. We invent a tune, play, or use it to celebrate an occasion.  Or we make a conceptual leap and ask more abstract questions about the conditions for agency. They include autonomy and self-appraisal, each contested by arguments immersing us in circumstances we donít control.  But can it be true we that have no personal responsibility for all we think and do?    

Agency: Moral Identity and Free Will proposes that deliberation, choice, and free will emerged within the evolutionary history of animals with a physical advantage: organisms having cell walls or exoskeletons had an internal space within which to protect themselves from external threats or encounters.  This defense was both structural and active: such organisms could ignore intrusions or inhibit risky behavior.  Their capacities evolved with time: inhibition became the power to deliberate and choose the manner of oneís responses.  Hence the ability of humans and some other animals to determine their reactions to problematic situations or to information that alters values and choices.  This is free will as a material power, not as the conclusion to a conceptual argument.  Having it makes us morally responsible for much we do. It prefigures moral identity.  

Closely argued but plainly written, Agency: Moral Identity and Free Will speaks for autonomy and responsibility when both are eclipsed by ideas that embed us in history or tradition.  Our sense of moral choice and freedom is accurate. We are not altogether the creatures of our circumstances.                

Agency: Moral Identity and Free Will
David Weissman | April 2020
210 pp | 2 B&W illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783748754
ISBN Hardback: 9781783748761
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783748778
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783748785
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783748792
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783748808
Categories: BIC: HP (Philosophy), HPQ (Ethics and moral philosophy), HPS (Social and political philosophy); BISAC: PHI000000 (PHILOSOPHY / General), PHI019000 (PHILOSOPHY / Political), PHI005000 (PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy); OCLC Number: 1151931406.

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Introduction Download
David Weissman

Chapter One: Agency Download
David Weissman

1. Semantics
2. Two Points of Reference
3. Individuality
4. Purpose/Intention
5. Sensibility
6. Thought and Perception
7. Competence and Skill
8. Effort
9. Partners
10. Efficacy
11. Oversight
12. Frustration
13. Will

Chapter Two: Free Will Download
David Weissman

1. Introduction
2. Background
3. Freedom To and Freedom From
4. Ontology
5. Universal Determinism
6. Explanation/Prediction
7. Cause or Capacity
8. Leibniz or Laplace
9. "Things Are Not Up to Us.Ē
10. Emergent Wholes, Their Properties and Powers
11. Character/Sensibility
12. Initiative
13. Productive Imagination
14. Consciousness
15. Choosing Freely
16. Last Thoughts

Chapter Three: Socialization Download
David Weissman

1. Conflicted Aims
2. Idiosyncrasy
3. Talent
4. Interiority
5. Social Space
6. Normativity
7. Socialization
8. Collaboration, Cooperation, Command
9. Cities
10. Disequilibrium

Chapter Four: Autonomy Download
David Weissman

1. Minerva
2. Semantics
3. Assertion
4. Self-Identification
5. Collaboration/Contention
6. Regulation
7. Oversight
8. In Itself, For Itself

Chapter Five: Moral Identity Download
David Weissman

1. Three Perspectives: Agents
2. Three Perspectives: Nodes
3. Three Perspectives: The Whole


David Weissman is Professor of Philosophy at City College of New York. His philosophic orientation is systematic, dialectical, and historical rather than phenomenological or analytic. He has published many journal articles and books, most recently Spinoza's Dream (De Gruyter, 2016) and Zone Morality (De Gruyter, 2014).