Agency, World, and the Ontological Ground of Possibility

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Abstract

This article is concerned with the long-standing question of how human agency can exist within the determinant universe typically assumed in psychological theory. It proceeds by offering a hermeneutic view of human agency based on 3 related claims: that anxiety reveals entities as having both actuality and possibility, that possibility is an immanent part of the world itself, and that agency is a meaningful projecting and pressing into possibilities. In taking this position, the author makes use of the Heideggerian notions of metaphysics, nihilism, unconcealment, and the essential strife of world and earth. Rather than invoking special mechanisms that putatively allow for a range of agentic action within a determinant universe, as theories of free will often seek to do, this hermeneutic alternative reframes the nature of world such that it is filled with possibility and thus provides the ontological ground of agency.

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