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The Other Side of Agency

Reader, Soran

The Other Side of Agency Thumbnail


Soran Reader


In our philosophical tradition and our wider culture, we tend to think of persons as agents. This agential conception is flattering, but in this paper I will argue that it conceals a more complex truth about what persons are. In 1. I set the issues in context. In 2. I critically explore four features commonly presented as fundamental to personhood in versions of the agential conception: action, capability, choice and independence. In 3. I argue that each of these agential features presupposes a non-agential feature: agency presupposes patiency, capability presupposes incapability, choice presupposes necessity and independence presupposes dependency. In 4. I argue that such non-agential features, as well as being implicit within the agential conception, are as apt to be constitutive of personhood as agential features, and in 5. I conclude.


Reader, S. (2007). The Other Side of Agency. Philosophy, 82(4), 579-604.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2007
Deposit Date May 23, 2008
Publicly Available Date Feb 11, 2010
Journal Philosophy
Print ISSN 0031-8191
Electronic ISSN 1469-817X
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 82
Issue 4
Pages 579-604
Publisher URL


Published Journal Article (123 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This paper has been published by Cambridge University Press in &quot;Philosophy&quot; (82:4 (2007) 579-604).;aid=1447396<br /> Copyright &copy; The Royal Institute of Philosophy 2007.

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