Action and Agency

  • Thor Grünbaum


In this chapter, we will be asking how the notions of intentional action and agency are related and discuss different ways of thinking about agents’ experiences of agency. I will focus on agents’ experience of agency as they engage in and execute their intentional actions.1 A number of distinctions important to our theories about and experimenting with intentional agency will be presented, and arguments in favour of viewing the experience of agency as having a complex phenomenology will be given. Let us begin by asking how we should conceive of intentional action. It is no easy task to define what an intentional action is. A commonsensical conception would be to say that an intentional action is an action an agent is performing because she has some reason to do so. An intentional action would then, as Anscombe said, be the kind of behaviour to which the “Why-question” in a certain sense has application (Anscombe 2000: 11), namely, in the sense that requires a reason for acting as an answer.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thor Grünbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Media, Cognition and Communication & Danish National Research Foundation: Center for Subjectivity ResearchUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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