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Journal Article

Autonomous Action: Self-Determination in the Passive Mode

Sarah Buss
Ethics
Vol. 122, No. 4 (July 2012), pp. 647-691
DOI: 10.1086/666328
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/666328
Page Count: 45
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Abstract

In order to be a self-governing agent, a person must govern the process by means of which she acquires the intention to act as she does. But what does governing this process require? The standard compatibilist answers to this question all assume that autonomous actions differ from nonautonomous actions insofar as they are a more perfect expression of the agent’s agency. I challenge this conception of autonomous agents as super agents. The distinguishing feature of autonomous agents is, I argue, the nonagential role they play in the formation of their intentions. I offer an account of the relevant role.