Program

ACLS Fellowship Program , Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars

Project

The moral significance of two kinds of agency

Project

Activity and the Responsible Mind

Department

Philosophy

Location

For residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences during academic year 2011-2012

The moral significance of two kinds of agency

Activity and the Responsible Mind

Some things are done, or at least are in our control, while others merely happen to, in, or around us. It is difficult to find a more momentous distinction. Yet there is no consensus about what marks it—indeed, there is little steady illumination in the area, at all. Current proposals model responsible mental activity on ordinary action. This project shows both why that model fails and develops a novel account of responsible mental activity, one modeled, instead, on the activity of answering a question. Though the project starts in moral philosophy, it aims to relate itself, usefully, to the methods and findings in philosophy of mind, empirical psychology, and the social sciences more generally. It thus aims to show how responsible human activity animates our psychology without being threatened by—indeed, while compatible with—the advance of science.