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Article: Action and Agency in Early Chinese Thought

TitleAction and Agency in Early Chinese Thought
先秦思想中的行動與行動性觀念
Authors
KeywordsAction
Agency
Chinese philosophy
Confucianism
Mohism
Issue Date2009
PublisherGuangxi Shi Fan Da Xue Chu Ban She (廣西師範大學出版社).
Citation
Journal of Chinese Philosophy and Culture, 2009, v. 5, p. 217–239 How to Cite?
中國哲學與文化, 2009, v. 5, p. 217–239 How to Cite?
AbstractThis essay presents a broad, programmatic account of how action and agency are conceived of in pre-Qín Chinese thought, along the way drawing contrasts with conceptions of action familiar from the Western tradition. I propose that instead of a belief-desire model of action, early Chinese thinkers apply a “discrimination-and-response” model. Rather than emphasizing individual deliberation and decision-making, this model grounds agency in people’s brute ability to catch on to and become expert in norm-governed practices by developing and correcting skills and habits. Agency is seen as concerned primarily with abilities, habits, and the skill-like performance of familiar patterns of activity. Its ideal expression is reliable, virtuoso performance of the dào (way). This model captures certain features of real-life agency well, and it calls attention to aspects of agency that tend to be downplayed in influential treatments of action in the Western tradition. Thus early Chinese texts may provide a intriguing resource that leads us to reconsider common assumptions about agency.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/208089

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorFraser, C-
dc.date.accessioned2015-02-10T08:39:12Z-
dc.date.available2015-02-10T08:39:12Z-
dc.date.issued2009-
dc.identifier.citationJournal of Chinese Philosophy and Culture, 2009, v. 5, p. 217–239-
dc.identifier.citation中國哲學與文化, 2009, v. 5, p. 217–239-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/208089-
dc.description.abstractThis essay presents a broad, programmatic account of how action and agency are conceived of in pre-Qín Chinese thought, along the way drawing contrasts with conceptions of action familiar from the Western tradition. I propose that instead of a belief-desire model of action, early Chinese thinkers apply a “discrimination-and-response” model. Rather than emphasizing individual deliberation and decision-making, this model grounds agency in people’s brute ability to catch on to and become expert in norm-governed practices by developing and correcting skills and habits. Agency is seen as concerned primarily with abilities, habits, and the skill-like performance of familiar patterns of activity. Its ideal expression is reliable, virtuoso performance of the dào (way). This model captures certain features of real-life agency well, and it calls attention to aspects of agency that tend to be downplayed in influential treatments of action in the Western tradition. Thus early Chinese texts may provide a intriguing resource that leads us to reconsider common assumptions about agency.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherGuangxi Shi Fan Da Xue Chu Ban She (廣西師範大學出版社).-
dc.relation.ispartofJournal of Chinese Philosophy and Culture-
dc.relation.ispartof中國哲學與文化-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subjectAction-
dc.subjectAgency-
dc.subjectChinese philosophy-
dc.subjectConfucianism-
dc.subjectMohism-
dc.titleAction and Agency in Early Chinese Thoughten_US
dc.title先秦思想中的行動與行動性觀念-
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.identifier.emailFraser, C: cjfraser@gmail.com-
dc.description.naturepostprint-
dc.identifier.hkuros171492-
dc.identifier.volume5-
dc.identifier.spage217–239-
dc.identifier.epage217–239-
dc.publisher.placeGuilin Shi (桂林市)-

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