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XV—Two Problems about Human Agency

Michael E. Bratman
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0066-7372.2003.00033.x 309-326 First published online: 1 June 2001


I consider two inter-related problems in the philosophy of action. One concerns the role of the agent in the determination of action, and I call it the problem of agential authority. The other concerns the relation between motivating desire and the agent's normative deliberation, and I call it the problem of subjective normative authority. In part by way of discussion of work of Harry Frankfurt and Christine Korsgaard, I argue that we make progress with these problems by appeal to certain kinds of higher-order policies and to their role in the cross-temporal organization of the deliberation and action of temporally persisting agents like us.