Them and Us: Autonomous Agents In Vivo and In Silico

Part of the Outstanding Contributions to Logic book series (OCTR, volume 5)


The concept of agency is important in philosophy, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence. Our aim in this chapter is to highlight some of the issues that arise when considering the concept of agency across these disciplines. We discuss two different views of agency: agents as actors (the originators of purposeful deliberate action); and agents as intentional systems (systems to which we attribute mental states such as beliefs and desires). We focus in particular on the view of agents as intentional systems, and discuss Baron-Cohen’s model of the human intentional system. We conclude by discussing what these different views tell us with respect to the goal of constructing artificial autonomous agents.


Agency Intentional systems Logic Artificial intelligence 



Wooldridge was supported by the European Research Council under Advanced Grant 291528 (“RACE”).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hertford CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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