DOI link for Whole-organism agency
Whole-organism agency book
Of parts and wholes Thus far I have argued that action is a broad behavioral kind common to humans and nonhuman animals alike, of which human deliberative action is a complex subkind. The core features of this broader sort of ‘primitive action’ are that agents (rather than mere agent-parts) produce it and that it is a form of coordination or guidance. Frankfurt’s account of intentional movement as whole-organism guidance was an ideal starting point for fleshing out the details of primitive action, but guidance as conceived by Frankfurt and others is an inadequate foundation for a theory of action. Specifically, the necessary sort of guidance cannot be reduced to the operations of a monitoring/adjustment mechanism. Such mechanisms undoubtedly are essential to the performance of action in many agents, but their operation is insufficient for guidance of the agency-conferring sort.