, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 199-207
Date: 25 Feb 2010

Agency and Responsibility

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According to Christine Korsgaard, Kantian hypothetical and categorical imperative principles are constitutive principles of agency. By acting in a way that is guided by such imperatives, an individual makes herself into an agent. On her theory, there is an inextricable link between the nature of agency and the practical issue of why we should be rational and moral. The benefits of such an account would be great. In Korsgaard’s view, an account that bases morality on the nature of agency is the basis for a refutation of any kind of moral skepticism, providing an indubitable and objective foundation for morality. This may seem too good to be true, and it is. Korsgaard would only be able to succeed at offering a foundation for morality at the cost of an account of agency that is too restrictive. Korsgaard does not present a coherent account of irrational or immoral agency, and the inability to offer an account of such agency implies an inability to offer a proper account of responsibility ...