Shmagency

12 Feb 2022 02:35 - 16 Dec 2022 12:22
Open in Logseq
    • I don't quite understand the author's concepts of metanormativity and meta-ethics.
    • Largely building off of Korsgaard theory of action as self-constitution.
    • Sorry, the whole thing has the feeling of a child asking "why" repeatedly. He takes a theory of agency, observes that there is no ultimate normative grounding to it, and uses that to dismiss the theory. But that's dumb, because the very basics of moral behavior seem wired in at a pre-human level (eg, care for others) and don't
    • Being an autonomous agent consists, Rosati (511) says plausibly enough, in the possibility of critically reflecting on one’s desires, stepping back from them and evaluating them rather than just being causally driven by them as a nonagent animal presumably would (actual agents only approximate the ideal of a perfectly autonomous agent [514])
    • Perhaps I cannot be classified as an agent without aiming to constitute myself. But why should I be an agent? Perhaps I can’t act without aiming at self-constitution, but why should I act? If your reasoning works, this just shows that I don’t care about agency and action. I am perfectly happy being a shmagent—a nonagent who is very similar to agents but who lacks the aim (constitutive of agency but not of shmagency) of self-constitution. I am perfectly happy performing shmactions—nonaction events that are very similar to actions but that lack the aim (constitutive of actions but not of shmactions) of self- constitution.”
    • Hm, sounds vaguely like a p-zombie argument, those are bad.
    • The game of agency, however, is crucially different. Quite plausibly, it is a game you find yourself playing, and one you cannot opt out of. You can, of course, choose to end your action-performing life by simply ending your life. But far from opting out of the game of agency altogether, this very decision will be a major move in that game (Velleman 2004b, 291). Perhaps, then, for games you cannot avoid playing, there is no need for a reason to play the game in order to have the reasons internal to the game. And indeed, it is a central theme throughout Korsgaard’s work that agency, action, reflection, and deliberation are not things we can discard or avoid: “Human beings are condemned to choice and action” (Korsgaard, 1.1.1)