Agency

A logo of a circle with a line through it.

Important Topics

This is a list of concepts I feel I need to address to make my case that human agency is an illusion.

There are two major themes in my thinking:

  1. Humans have no material agency
  2. Power structures require the presumption of agency

Tangentially, even if I were to agree that the world did allow for free will, is determined, semi-determined, or indetermined, my contention is that because humans have no material agency, they still have no responsibility. The metaphor that comes to mind is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. All of our genetics, epigenetics, and heredity along with our socio-environmental programming, any agency we might have to exert is essentially the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

This story is meant to teach that the final straw cannot be seen in isolation. This straw is not responsible for breaking the camel’s back. It’s just one of a thousand papercuts, to switch metaphors for effect.

In either a deterministic or deterministic universe, there are only two possible answers that I can think of, which are:

  1. Humans require god-like abilities to satisfy causa sui requirements
  2. Agency is an emergent property AND independent of BOTH in-built processes and inputs

Book References

I receive no compensation from Amazon.com or anywhere else at this time for links to books. I include them for convenience purposes. Book links reference the US instance of Amazon.com. If you receive books from a different instance or wish to view Amazon content in a different language, in most cases, simply click the link and change the top-level domain to the one you usually order from.

For example, the US link to The Righteous Mind is rendered like this:

[US] https://www.amazon.com/dp/0307377903/

The ‘dp‘ means ‘detail page‘ (or some such) and the characters after the ‘/dp/‘ represent Amazon’s unique inventory code (ASIN, Amazon Standard Identification Number) for a given product.

Amend it to one of the following and try again.

[Canada] https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0307377903/
[UK] https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0307377903/
[France] https://www.amazon.fr/dp/0307377903/
[India] https://www.amazon.in/dp/0307377903/
[Germany] https://www.amazon.de/dp/0307377903/

Not all books are available in all regions, so not all links will be amenable to this treatment. Obviously, I have no control over which books Amazon offers, stocks, or which warehouses or regions they ship from.

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