Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 415–424 | Cite as

The anachronism of moral individualism and the responsibility of extended agency

  • F. Allan Hanson


Recent social theory has departed from methodological individualism’s explanation of action according to the motives and dispositions of human individuals in favor of explanation in terms of broader agencies consisting of both human and nonhuman elements described as cyborgs, actor-networks, extended agencies, or distributed cognition. This paper proposes that moral responsibility for action also be vested in extended agencies. It advances a consequentialist view of responsibility that takes moral responsibility to be a species of causal responsibility, and it answers objections that might be raised on the basis of intentions and deserts.


Methodological individualism Moral responsibility Extended agency Cyborg Actor-network Distributed cognition 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department AnthropologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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