[ExI] agency-based personal identity

Thomas thomas at thomasoliver.net
Thu Jun 28 08:59:30 UTC 2007

Jef Allbrigh wrote:

> On 6/27/07, Thomas <thomas at thomasoliver.net> wrote:
>> I think of will as agency.
> Consider a newborn infant.  It functions on its own behalf, at least
> enough to find and suck on a nipple, but it yet lacks a model of
> itself as a self.
> Is there agency?
> It certainly acts on its environment relative to its values so there
> is agency, not yet in its own mind, but assigned in the minds of other
> observers.
> Is there a will?
> Whose will would be exercised, when there is not yet a model of self?
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_%28philosophy%29>
> <http://www.open2.net/healthliving/family_childdevelopment/2005/ 
> what_is_self.html>
> - Jef

Yes, I agree.  That illustrates the need to discriminate the two  
terms.  The sufficient expression of will requires capacity for self  
awareness.  The newborn's latent capacity makes me consider her a pre- 
person not responsible for, say, moral agency -- instantly loved and  
valued as much or more than a fully responsible person -- with great  
delight in every evidence of agency.  And now I shall sleep like a  
baby. -- Thomas

Thomas at ThomasOliver.net

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