Chapter

A Rational Agent

Rüdiger Bittner

in Doing Things for Reasons

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195143645
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833085 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195143647.003.0012
A Rational Agent

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The chapter develops the main consequences the present conception of reasons for which people do things has for our status as rational agents. One is that rational agents only need an awareness of things going on around them and the ability to act in response to them, but no faculty of governing themselves. This does away with inner opposition and domination as well as with the restriction of rational agency to the human species. It also does away with activity as the core of agency: we are not masters over what we do for reasons; we do it, sensitive to what we encounter. Another consequence is that we are not, on the strength of being rational agents, subject to moral and other requirements, and that we do not therefore enjoy a special dignity: we are worldly creatures through and through.

Keywords: action; activity; agency; awareness; governing oneself; human dignity; rational agent; reasons for action; response

Chapter.  5682 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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