Failures of Agency

Failures of Agency : Irrational Behavior and Self-understanding

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Failures of Agency: Irrational Behavior and Self-Understanding asks, how does the phenomenon of "going against your own judgment" relate to the idea that we are rational beings? Annemarie Kalis argues that certain widespread philosophical accounts of free action must conclude that "going against your own judgment" is necessarily unfree, with wide implications for moral responsibility. Kalis offers insight on whether everyday irrational behavior differs from irrational behavior occurring in the context of psychiatric dysfunction and develops a view on how we should understand ourselves when we do something other than what we judge best.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 194 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0739148885
  • 9780739148884

About Annemarie Kalis

Annemarie Kalis is researcher in philosophy at Utrecht University.
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Review quote

Kalis develops a philosophical interpretation of acting contrary to one's better judgment that is designed to reveal what is fascinating about such behavior and to explain its bearing on our view of ourselves as rational agents. This wide-ranging, engaging exploration of human agency is both philosophically and scientifically well informed. -- Alfred R. Mele, Florida State University What would it be to be perfectly rational and never act against one's better judgment? And what does it mean for our self-understanding that we're just not like that? Annemarie Kalis gives a sustained, lucid analysis of these conceptual questions that builds upon a rich variety of cases of failure of agency, ranging from the everyday one beer too many to serious psychopathology. She convincingly argues that for us human beings, 'perfect' rationality is a standard as unattainable as immortality. Our failings as agents turn out to provide crucial insights into who we are. This book fills an important lacuna by providing a bridge between theoretical questions of action theory and practical issues of morality and the self. It is required reading for anyone interested in practical rationality, philosophers and psychologists alike. -- Thomas Muller,, Utrecht University
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Table of contents

Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. The Debate on Akrasia Chapter 3. Action, Agency, and Rational Agency Chapter 4. Control Chapter 5. Failures of Agency Chapter 6. Moral Responsibility Chapter 7. The Boundaries of Agency Chapter 8. Explaining Failures of Agency Chapter 9. Failures of Agency and the Self
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