Where? Me? Indeterminacy and Ambiguity in Human Motivation

  • Jan Bransen


Luther’s saying, “Here I stand; I can do no other,” poses a kind of paradox, since it expresses both Luther’s deliberate autonomy (he is thoroughly aware of the freedom implied by his own authority over his actions) and his being radically constrained (he is thoroughly aware of the fact that there is really merely one course of action open to him). To dissolve this paradox, Jan Bransen explores the commonly neglected import of the indexical mode of presenting the limits of one’s agency that is characteristic of Luther’s saying. This will lead him to argue against both Harry Frankfurt’s and Michael Bratman’s influential accounts of practical necessity, which can be shown to be inadequately individualistic. Bransen argues that the limits of a person’s agency are dynamic and are co-determined by the intersubjective background conditions implicitly shared by the agent and his—real or anticipated—audience. Taking this into account allows us to give an interesting twist to the role of love in understanding the practical necessities that are part and parcel of the finite human beings we are.


Indexical Mode Abusive Relationship Practical Necessity Agential Scenario Violent Outburst 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Bransen
    • 1
  1. 1.Theology and Religious Studies and Behavioural Science InstituteRadboud UniversityNijmegenNetherlands

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