November 19, 2021
Manuel Vargas: Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego
The Echo of Agency
The arrangement of the social world seems to matter for moral responsibility, and in general, how we think about the nature of other people’s actions. Whether someone is acting under coercion, under oppression, or under conditions of widespread institutional corruption affects our assessments of moral culpability. We can better understand why these phenomena matter for culpability by drawing on some resources from the nearly forgotten history of Mexican existentialism. In particular, the idea that we rely upon a particular kind of “echo” in acting helps explain an important aspect of the social dimension of agency.