The possibility of human agency

Filling the pail

One of the defining features of humanity is our agency; we can decide to do things. Clearly, there are limits within which we operate. For instance, I cannot choose the impossible. And if I decide to harm somebody then others may try to stop me. If they don’t know what I intend, or I succeed regardless, then I will face consequences. But these consequences are all based upon the assumption that I had a choice. If I genuinely had little or no choice – if I am being coerced – then this would be considered mitigating.

And exercising choice may be hard. I may decide that I want to lead a healthier life by eating better and starting to go for runs, but this is a difficult choice to go through with. To succeed, I may need the help of others such as a personal trainer or a nutritionist. Nevertheless…

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