BUHRMANN & DI PAOLO (2015) – The sense of agency: a phenomenological consequence of enacting sensorimotor schemes


BUHRMANN, Thomas. DI PAOLO, Ezequiel. The sense of agency – a phenomenological consequence of enacting sensorimotor schemes. Phenomenology & Cognitive Science,  doi: 10.1007/s11097-015-9446-7, online first, p.1-30, 2015.

Abstract: The sensorimotor approach to perception addresses various aspects of perceptual experience, but not the subjectivity of intentional action. Conversely, the problem that current accounts of the sense of agency deal with is primarily one of subjectivity. But the proposed models, based on internal signal comparisons, arguably fail to make the transition from subpersonal computations to personal experience. In this paper we suggest an alternative direction towards explaining the sense of agency by braiding three theoretical strands: a world-involving, dynamical interpretation of the sensorimotor approach, an enactive description of sensorimotor agency as contrasted with organic agency in general, and a dynamical theory of equilibration within and between sensorimotor schemes. On this new account, the sense of oneself as the author of one’s own actions corresponds to what we experience during the ongoing adventure of establishing, losing, and re-establishing meaningful interactions with the world. The meaningful relation between agent and world is given by the precarious constitution of sensorimotor agency as a self-asserting network of schemes and dispositions. Acts are owned as they adaptively assert the constitution of the agent. Thus, awareness for different aspects of agency experience, such as the initiation of action, the effort exerted in controlling it, or the achievement of the desired effect, can be accounted for by processes involved in maintaining the sensorimotor organization that enables these interactions with the world. We discuss these processes in detail from a non-representational, dynamical perspective and show how they cohere with the personal experience of agency.

  • Embodied accounts of motor control and perceptual experience fall within one of two categories according to the explanatory role they give to the agent’s body and to the world. In-the-head approaches put the emphasis on computational processes occurring in the agent’s brain that instantiate internal models of body and world. Such models can be affected by environmental events, sensorimotor regularities, and body dynamics in a limited way: either in the form of informational inputs or via the ‘formatting’ of internal representations. In-the-head explanations are subpersonal and internalist. Worldinvolving approaches, in contrast, see brain, body, and world as part of an entangled relational network of processes in which both neural, non-neural, and non-biological elements can play strong causal and constitutive roles – not just informational or developmental ones – in action and perception. The explanatory strategy in such cases require establishing links between the personal-level relation between agent and environment as well as the dynamic coupling of subpersonal processes in the agent and in the environment. p.1
  • Our objective in this paper is to introduce a world-involving alternative account based on O’Regan and Noë’s (2001) sensorimotor (SM) approach to perception; more specifically based on recent formalizations of this proposal (Buhrmann et al. 2013; Di Paolo et al. 2014). This alternative does not see the sense of agency as just an epistemological problem, but rather assumes that it is an intrinsic aspect of how sensorimotor schemes are organised and enacted in the world. p.2
  • A sense of the bodily self as an agent, in this view, corresponds to what we experience during the ongoing adventure of establishing, losing, and reestablishing meaningful relations between ourselves and the world. p.2
  • We propose that the various aspects of the phenomenology of the sense of agency relate to both the intrinsic and the relational (meta)stability of the action/perception schemes that together constitute the sensorimotor level of agency. These intrinsic and relational aspects always involve the world in some non-trivial sense and do not require internal comparison between neural signals as the epistemic signature of a controlled act. Instead, the enacted schemes Bbelong^ to the agent to the extent that they assert her agency in the first place. This is manifested in different forms: as feelings of action initiation, of action control, of effort and control exertion by the various ways and degrees in which an enacted scheme is met with, and surpasses (or not), obstacles and resistance both internally within a given act and relationally between acts. p.2-3
  • In everyday life, when I engage in intentional actions, these are usually accompanied by an experience that I am their author or initiator, in other words, by an awareness that the actions are mine, and that I have caused them. Upon reflection, and based on empirical data which we summarize below, this sense of agency is not a unique and unified sense. Rather, one can distinguish different levels of action awareness, and various aspects of one’s agency at which this awareness can be directed. p.3
  • At a general level we can distinguish between a pre-reflective and a reflective selfawareness in action (Gallagher 2007, 2012). The former, also referred to as the feeling of agency (Synofzik et al. 2007, 2008), is the experience of agency that accompanies my actions when I’m immersed in my activity, without paying particular attention to or consciously reflecting on the details of what I’m doing at the moment or why. At this level, my agency is not given to me explicitly as an object of experience, it is rather implicit in the unperturbed flow of my action and the egocentric perspective underlying it. It is the basic, diffuse feeling that it is I who is carrying out an activity, but the I here is implicit in the non-transitive experience of myself as the locus of agency. It is phenomenologically recessive in the sense that in normal circumstances I am primarily aware of what I’m doing, rather than the fact that it is I who is doing it. Often we become consciously aware only of the absence of the feeling of agency when being interrupted while immersed in a task, or when unexpectedly failing in some way.
  • We can also experience ourselves reflectively as agents when taking an introspective stance that is detached from our ongoing activity. For example, when deliberating and planning actions we are about to take, or when explicitly monitoring the success of our actions, we may judge ourselves to be responsible when the actions are consistent with our personal beliefs, or when the task results in the achievement of a goal I have set to myself. This sense of agency is usually conceived as a higher-order, conceptual attribution, and a transitive experience of myself as object, i.e. as he who is acting. p.4
  • Before elaborating on the different aspects of actions that one can be aware of, and which may contribute to the overall feeling of agency, we should separate the sense of agency as described above from the sense of ownership (Gallagher 2000; Synofzik et al. 2008). The latter is the pre-reflective experience that it is me, i.e. my body, that is moving, or more generally, that a given body part belongs to me. In everyday voluntary activity these two aspects contribute to a unified, minimal self-awareness for action. p.4
  • Gallagher (2007, 2012), for example, distinguishes intentional aspects involved in the sense of agency from those related to the initiation of movement. The distinction is motivated by the observation that in the case of involuntary movements I have a sense of ownership only (but not agency), which is based on afferent sensory feedback (e.g. proprioceptive and kinaesthetic). What is different in the sense of agency during voluntary movements, is the presence of efferent signals sent to the motor systems. p.5
  • Another element of agency experience that is related primarily to bodily movement rather than the intentional aspect of action, is the sense of being in control of ongoing movements, as distinct from the sense of having initiated them. De Vignemont and Fourneret (2004) describe pathological cases where the two aspects are differentially affected. For instance, patients with anosognosia for plegia (unawareness or denial of paralysis) may believe that they have raised their hand, even though they suffer from a condition preventing them from voluntarily initiating any movement with the affected limb., i.e. their sense of initiation is disrupted. In contrast, deafferented patients who do not receive any tactile or proprioceptive feedback have no sense (other than visual) of their own movement or body position, yet they know perfectly well whether or not they are moving. p.5
  • Intentionality enters into the phenomenology of agency awareness in two ways. The first is the feeling that not only have I initiated a certain action, but that my  initiating it is in accordance with my intention to do so. p.5
  • A second intentional aspect of agency awareness relates to the desired outcome of na action. An inherent property of intentional actions is that they are directed at achieving a meaningful effect. The extent to which I am successful in achieving this effect can enter as another element in my agency experience. Since the success of my action usually requires certain outcomes in the world, it is not surprising that this experience depends to a greater extent on the ability to monitor distal action effects, rather than internal processes and signals. p.6
  • As long as the action outcome is consistent with one’s intention, follows the intention within a certain time window, and there is no other conspicuous cause, then the action can be experienced as intended and effectuated by oneself. p.6
  • Despite its appeal, in proposing a simple computational mechanism underlying sensorimotor self- awareness, which moreover seems to fit naturally into the growing ecology of predictive brain theories (Friston 2010; Clark 2013; Seth 2014), the comparator model is likely neither sufficient nor necessary to explain the feeling and judgement of agency. Synofzik et al. (2007) present a range of arguments to this effect. Firstly, subjects can attribute the same comparator mismatch in some cases to themselves and in others to the world. In other words, any potential mismatch itself has to be registered and appropriately categorized by another process different from the comparator. Also, in order to learn the required internal models, i.e. to learn the effect of its own movements, the system already has to somehow know which of its movements are caused by itself and which are not. Based on cases of pathological loss of action awareness, as well as neuroanatomical lesions in areas supposed to be involved in the comparator, the authors reach the conclusion that a much less specific congruence between efferent and afferent signals in general (e.g. between an action intention and a distal sensory effect, see comparator C3 in Fig. 1), alone or in combination with certain intermodal congruencies, suffices to explain the feeling of agency. p.8
  • Synofzik et al. conclude that it is not a specific, unique and accurate prediction that underlies different forms of action awareness. Rather, all kinds of action-related perceptual and motor information, like efference copies, sensory feedback modalities and their congruence, are combined in a multifactorial weighting process at different levels of cognitive processing, where the importance of the different authorship cues may vary with task, context, and person. p.8
  • The comparator model on its own does not offer an answer as to the experiential nature of agency awareness. To do that, it needs to go a step further, and explain how it is that we have these first-person, subjective experiences at all, accompanying (and conditioned by) the proposed subpersonal computations. p.9

Enactive sensorimotor theory

  • As we have argued above, cognitivist models aim at a view of action awareness in which the experience of agency arises as an intrinsic aspect of action itself (at least in the case of the pre-reflective feeling of agency). It is arguable whether this attempt could be successful, given that it relies on the explicit construction of internal representations from brain-side computations that may or may not be required for the sense of agency. We propose here an alternative that synthesizes three different theoretical developments, each of which views the cognitive agent essentially as an integrated ecology of sensorimotor skills. The starting point is a dynamic interpretation of the sensorimotor approach, which points the way towards a world-involving and nonrepresentational account of experience. This is enriched by the enactive notion of minimal agency, which we argue is required to explain how subjectivity can arise at the sensorimotor level. Lastly, a dynamical reinterpretation of Piaget’s theory of equilibration will allow us to account for the different aspects of the sense of agency. p.9-10
  • We agree with the premise that the co-occurrence of actions and their typical sensory consequences (i.e. sensorimotor contingencies), as well as a sensitivity to non-typical consequences, are necessary preconditions for the sense of agency, as they may enable a momentary and implicit distinction between self and environment. However, this idea can be developed in a non-dualistic and non-representational manner, in which agency experience is truly intrinsic to the performance of actions themselves as they form part of self-asserting sensorimotor structures and relations, rather than derived through verifications and inferences using pre-given criteria as to what does and does not belong to the self. p.10
  • According to the sensorimotor approach (O’Regan and Noë 2001; Noë 2004), perceptual experience, such as seeing an object, does not derive from internal representations in the brain, but is constituted by the skilful use of the regularities governing active exploration of the world. More specifically, perceiving consists in the exercise of practical mastery of the laws of sensorimotor contingencies (SMCs), i.e. of the lawful regularities in the sensorimotor flow that govern intentional interaction with the environment. Both the Bcontent^ and form of experience, i.e. what is perceived and how, is constituted by the embodied know-how of the relevant SMCs put into practice. The experiences associated with the various sensory modalities, or with distinct aspects of the environment (e.g. colours or sounds) differ, because there are different sensorimotor regularities involved in, say, seeing and hearing. p.10
  • Our proposal is to extend the sensorimotor approach to the experience of oneself as an agent. On this account, the sense of agency is not something derived from  internal representations of our own action-related processes. Rather, it is essentially another dimension of our relation with the world, and derives from the ways in which we establish, lose, and re-establish meaningful interactions between ourselves and our environment. p.10
  • Sensorimotor coordinations describe particular sensorimotor patterns that are reliably used in performing a task. These can be cycles or transients in sensorimotor space and depend on an agent’s environment, body, inner activity, and the task-related context. Sensorimotor strategies or schemes are organizations of several sensorimotor coordinations that the agent deploys to achieve a given task and which are subject to some normative framework (for instance, considerations of efficiency). p.10
  • Crucial for the development of our proposal is that individual SM structures do not exist in isolation. Rather, they are integrated in a complex network of  interdependence. p.10
  • In a general sense, the enactment of a particular SM scheme depends in normal circumstances on a resonance between external and internal conditions related to the agent’s desires and needs. p.11
  • We propose that the origin of a first-person perspective, a prerequisite for talking of a system enjoying experiences, is the emergence of sensorimotor agency. By this we mean an entity whose constitution implies a unique and intrinsic perspective on the world; or rather, an entity that, through its self-constitution, brings forth its own domain of relevant interactions, or Umwelt in von Uexküll’s (1934) terms. This is most easily understood in analogy to biological agency. From an enactive perspective, the simplest living organisms already exhibit a form of agency. Unicellular organisms, for example, are complex networks of precarious, co-dependent chemical reactions, in which the activity of the whole network is necessary to prevent the component processes from running down. These cells are agents in the sense that they can regulate interactions with their environment in a way that support their continued existence (e.g. by regulating osmotic pressure). Otherwise neutral external affairs thus gain a valenced status with respect to the cell. What is good or bad for it is not arbitrarily defined by na external observer, but is intrinsically determined by its processes of self-constitution. Thus, unicellular organisms can be said to enjoy a certain subjectivity or perspective in the sense of Bsentience, the feeling of being alive and exercising effort in movement^ (Thompson 2007, p. 161, see also Jonas 1966; Sheets-Johnstone 1999; Margulis 2001). p.12
  • In summary, a minimal agent is “an autonomous organization capable of adaptively regulating its coupling with the environment according to the norms established by its own viability conditions” (ibid, p. 376). We argue that the nature of agents as selfasserting systems, able to evaluate external affairs in terms of their own viability, is the origin also of a minimal subjectivity.(1) p.13
  • However, when we talk about human-level agency, much of our everyday behaviour, while taking place within the constraint of biological viability, is underdetermined by it. Many of our actions, for example, acquire intrinsic value Bon top^ of their organic functionality: movements can be dexterous, postures awkward, a walk elegant, and so on. The question is whether a new form of autonomy and agency may arise at the behavioural level, not fully determined by biological constraints. p.13
  • We should clarify at this point that the experiences we propose a sensorimotor agent is able to enjoy differ from the minimal sentience that (mere) organic agency entails. In particular, we claim that sensorimotor agents may experience their actions as their own, and that we can derive the qualities and aspects of how such systems experience their own agency from the way in which they exercise adaptive regulations to maintain a stable sensorimotor repertoire. Piaget has developed exactly such an account of how sensorimotor skills are developed and coherently maintained via adaptive transformations. p.15
  • According to Piaget, and in agreement with the sensorimotor approach, the environment is not a set of pre-existing stimulus conditions that impact on the organism to produce a perceptual or cognitive effect. A subject can rather perceive—in the sense of understanding for what it is, or what it is for—only those environmental aspects or events that she can actively assimilate (integrate or absorb) into already existing sensorimotor schemes. The maturing subject, moreover, faced with an ever changing world (and body), will constantly be challenged by not-yet-assimilated aspects of her environment, which create internal sources of tension and conflict in her cognitive organization. Through adaptive processes of accommodation, Piaget proposes, the existing repertoire of sensorimotor schemes is modulated or transformed over time such as to address new behavioural challenges. The subject is thus continuously poised at the edge between assimilation and accommodation, in a process of equilibration through which she reaches new forms of organizational (meta)stability. p.15
  • Piaget suggests, for instance, that reciprocal processes of accommodation and assimilation may also occur between schemes, as well as between schemes and the system’s totality (involving a hierarchical dimension of relationships among schemes). Note that the conservation of self-sustaining sensorimotor schemes, and the stability of the SM repertoire as a whole, play the role of adaptive regulations in the definition of minimal agency, and as such may already ground aspects of normativity at the sensorimotor level. What is good or bad for the subject as a sensorimotor agent is, respectively, what can be equilibrated or what provokes tensions or instabilities in his cognitive organization. p.16

Enactive sense of agency

  • We are now in a position to synthesise the three theoretical strands – the dynamical sensorimotor approach, the enactive notion of sensorimotor agency, and the dynamical theory of sensorimotor equilibration – to offer an enactive account for  the sense of agency. According to our proposal, a basic experiencing agent is constituted by a selfasserting network of mutually enabling precarious sensorimotor schemes; a network whose stability is constantly challenged by environmental and internal requirements, and which undergoes adaptive processes of equilibration to counter these challenges. Such an organization satisfies the three requirements for minimal agency and may thus be said to constitute an identity that emerges at the sensorimotor level, bearing its own concerns, acting on its own behalf, entertaining its own perspective; in short, a sensorimotor subject. What and how this agent experiences perceptually, according to the sensorimotor approach, is determined by her sensorimotor repertoire. Crucially, we  propose that how the agent experiences her engagements with the world, i.e., whether as owned and self-driven or not, is determined by different modes of equilibration both within and between SM schemes, and by how these modes of equilibration re-assert the individuation of the sensorimotor subject.  p.16-17
  • To be more specific, our proposal states that the different aspects of the sense of agency cohere with the different aspects of assimilation and accommodation in a sensorimotor agent and not with specific relations between sensory signals. For example, we consider the diffuse and attentively recessive feeling of agency to be the experiential consequence of a network of SM schemes successfully assimilating the current environmental context. In other words, the absence of any perturbations to my dynamic equilibrium, is the feeling that “everything is going according to (my) plan”. Since SM schemes are always enacted by the sensorimotor agent owning them and their enactment in turn re-constitutes the organization that constitutes the sensorimotor agent, the “first-person givenness” is already implicit in the process that asserts a SM scheme within the precarious network, i.e., its enactment. In other words, whether or not I am the agent of my actions, at this level of equilibration, is not a question of verification based on comparisons between signals, since it always is and can only be I who enacts a SM scheme whose outcome is to contribute to re-affirm my own agency. The enactment of the act asserts the agency of the agent. p.17
  • It is thus not a congruence between internal signals in the brain, but an appropriateness of the chosen scheme given the current situation in agent and environment. The agent does not need to “find out” whether a SM scheme equilibrates by comparing signals. It is the enactment of the SM scheme itself that results in success or failure to various degrees (see discussion on intrinsic normativity in SM schemes in Di Paolo, et al. 2014). An obstacle or a lacuna are manifested directly in the failure to equilibrate within an SM scheme or between one SM scheme and another. The manifestation is world-involving and also personal since it implies the agent as a whole. p.17
  • The agent’s sensitivity to the selected scheme thus constitutes a kind of awareness of processes and events about to ensue, and we identify this sensitivity as coherent with the intentional aspect of action awareness (the awareness of having the intention to move). For example, when a tennis player forms the intention to return his opponent’s serve, he is already prepared to move in a certain way (e.g. by setting up required motor primitives and synergies). But at the same he is still sensitive to the different ways the ball may be served, as well as to the different options for his opponent’s reaction to his upcoming return. The particular manifold of possibilities associated with the selection of a specific return scheme is experienced by the player as his intention to enact that return. p.19
  • In general then, the distinction between the sense of being the initiator of an action (associated with intentions and premotor activity), and the sense of being in control (on-going motor-sensory matching) can be neurophenomenologically matched to processes of accommodation and assimilation respectively. Note, that in terms of equilibration, the initiation of a new SM scheme is already an adaptive regulation, i.e. a response to a new external or internal challenge to stability. The feeling of being the initiator of an action would thus not be limited only to cases of prior losses of control over one’s actions. p.20
  • For instance, equilibration occurring to address incongruence between a SM scheme and the environment here and now may underlie the instantaneous feeling of agency. In contrast, adaptive processes aiming to resolve mutual conflicts between SM schemes, or between a SM scheme and the repertoire as a whole, may underlie the general feeling of being reliably effective in one’s actions, and of possessing the necessary sensorimotor skills to deal with one’s everyday life. In this sense, the higher forms of equilibration may be necessary for the experience of oneself as a unified, persisting and coherent source of intentional activity over time. p.21
  • From our enactive perspective there is no need for central predictors to account for the awareness of action initiation. (That is not to say that sensorimotor behaviours or schemes cannot be anticipative in nature, but rather that each scheme, if required, may be intrinsically anticipative rather than relying necessarily on detailed internal models – see Stepp and Turvey 2010). As we have argued, awareness of intention and action initiation results from the real but covert effects that the selection and activation of SM schemes have on the rest of the agent’s cognitive organization. In particular, the activation of a specific SM scheme places the agent in a state of “commitment” that may constrain future actions by differentially modulating other SM schemes that usually follow. p.21
  • Our hypothesis fulfils several requirements that we believe should apply to any enactive account of the sense of agency. Firstly, the experience of agency, like any other experience in the enactive approach, is relational in nature, i.e. fundamentally world-involving, rather than internal to the brain. It is constituted by structures or processes present in our active exploration of the world, by properties or modes of the relation between agent and environment. p.22
  • Secondly, the prereflective sense of agency, in our account, is an intransitive experience. It is not an experience of ‘me’ as an object of perception (as defended e.g. by Bayne 2011) or introspection, but rather the basic feeling of my intentional directedness at the world; i.e. the feeling of (re-)asserting myself as an agent in meaningful interactions with the world. Thus, our proposal does not reduce the sense of agency to an epistemic issue (accessing information to verify authorship) but also accounts for the ontological question of how a SM scheme participates in the ongoing constitution of the agent; the epistemic issue comes out in the wash. p.22
  • our proposal accounts for the fact that the sense of agency phenomenologically presents itself as a heterogeneous collection of different ways or aspects of feeling in control that depends on context, the task, the person’s history and capacities, and so on. Since individual SM schemes are by definition task-specific, and therefore vary for example in terms of the sensory modalities involved, the balance of contributions from agent-internal and environmental processes etc., it follows that the sense of agency should vary from situation to situation and, when it breaks down, it does so in accordance with the specific demands and properties of the task and person. p.22
  • Lastly, by satisfying the three requirements for minimal agency, our proposal solves the problem of who is experiencing by positing that there exists a well-defined subject that is experiencing its own agency, namely a sensorimotor agent constituted by a selfsustaining network of precarious sensorimotor schemes. Such an agent is invested in interactions with its own intrinsic norms, and its very constitution brings forth a domain of self-relevant interactions, and therewith an intrinsic subjectivity and perspective on the world (Di Paolo 2005; Jonas 1966; Thompson 2007). In this sense, our account spans both the subpersonal level of sensorimotor processes, as well as the personal level of the experiencing subject, something the comparator model fails to do satisfactorily. p.23
  • In our view, all actions are by definition intentional; equally there is no such thing as an abstract intentional ‘state’ as divorced from the action that it requires for its realization, even if for whatever reason such action is not fully actualised. The intentional aspect of an action derives from the dispositions that the agent exhibits when a SM scheme is selected from the greater repertoire; and from the fact that the selection itself involves the agent’s needs and desires. p.23
  • We believe that our enactive proposal shows how in everyday skillful behavior, the sense of agency does not (only) play this epistemological role, but is rather an intrinsic aspect of how meaningful sensorimotor schemes are organised and enacted in the world. Propositional beliefs need not be involved at all according to our proposal. p.25
  • The view we defend in this paper is best described as a telic model: the sense of agency is understood as an intransitive experience that is implicit in intentional action itself, i.e. such actions are considered to be enjoying experiential character, or phenomenal properties themselves (see, e.g., Searle 1983). Telic states have a world to mind direction of fit. Their aim is to bring about certain changes in the world. They are satisfied when an intentional action is successfully realized (assimilation), or otherwise fail and remain unsatisfied or frustrated (requiring accommodation). According to our proposal, the prereflective feeling of agency is of this kind. It is tightly linked with the reaffirmation of an agent as an agentive system through its actions. p.25
  • Social agency is characterized by what McGann and De Jaegher (2009) call Bself-other contingencies^. Action and perception in the social domain are a matter of coordinating the behaviours, emotions, and intentions of the agents involved, in and through the coordination of movement (including utterances). Self-other contingencies are different from SMCs in a number of ways. Social interactions are interactions between agents, each of whom is maintaining their own autonomy. The condition of asymmetry between agent and environment is more complex (able to change over time along different dimensions), since the regulation of social interactions is not completely down to either individual (De Jaegher and Froese 2009). As a consequence, interactions with other social agents are far less predictable than those with (most) objects. In this way, the equilibration of SM schemes in interactive situations may not obviously arise from a single agent but could in principle be co-authored, leading to ambiguities, for instance, like controlling one’s actions without exerting control (like we described above for the case of repetitive tasks). p.26
  • We have interpreted the sensorimotor approach as a world-involving perspective on action and perception. Lacking a theory of agency, this approach needed to be supplemented by extending the requirements for agency proposed by enactive theory – individuality, asymmetry, and normativity – to a new enactive concept of sensorimotor agency.We have combined this concept with recent formalizations of the notions of sensorimotor contingencies and their mastery. The latter, based on a dynamical account of equilibration, furnishes the enactive approach with a proposal for explaining the sense of agency. Aworld-involving, non-representational, meso-level account based on how actions and dispositions are organized as a network of precarious, mutually stabilizing sensorimotor schemes. A given act contributes to the ongoing regeneration of this organization to different degrees or fails to do so. It is the self-asserting logic of this network that determines whether an act belongs to the agent or not. Conversely, it is the ways in which an agent acts in the world that individuate her as the agent she is constantly becoming. p.26

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