papalagi (papalagi) wrote,

Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief


Agency is the capacity that certain organisms have to behave or believe in conformance with, in contradiction of, in addition to, or without regard for what is perceived to be environmental or biological determinants.

Agency and the teleology to which it is tied is what we mean by free will. If a person could have behaved otherwise in a situation (contradictorily), all circumstances remaining the same, then we say this person has free will.

An agent is always the executive identity, affirming assumptive premises leading to decisions and choices, even though the resulting intentions and purposes may be misguided or flatly incorrect. Social pressures can and often do influence persons, but thanks to their oppositional reasoning capacities this never turns them into permanent robots. Agents ultimately make a difference in the line of action we call their “behavior.”

Tags: encyclopedia of psychology, joseph e rishlak
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