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Intentionality, Agency and Personhood

Outline of a Phenomenological Theory of Acts

Back to issue: Phänomenologische Forschungen 2018-2
EUR 16.90

Modern tradition takes a person to be a rational (and moral) agent, namely an agent capable of acting on the basis of reasons – often desire-independent reasons, and particularly moral reasons. So, agency and freedom are involved in the definition of personhood. But what about the embodiment of persons? What about their rootedness in the particular circumstances of a human life – time, space, community of origin, material, and axiological culture? What about the individual identity of persons, their irreducible individuality? The phenomenological notion of intentionality has a widely neglected richness of content, making it a key conceptual tool, capable of explaining not only consciousness but also rational agency, that is personhood, right from the level of the most basic and embodied instances of consciousness: perception, emotion, and spontaneous action. These should be considered as acts, rather than as states, and the discussion of the specific intentionality of these acts and their motivational relations purports to be an original contribution to a genetic phenomenology of embodied, individualized personhood and rational agency