Determinism and Agency

  • David D. Franks
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Sociology book series (BRIEFSSOCY)


This chapter starts by contrasting reductionism and determinism with emergence and mind. How agency allows for the self-control of behavior making social life possible is noted. Conditioning is presented next and accounts for a great deal of human behavior. How we surmount it and make new forms of feeling and acting possible follows. What we are not free from is noted, and Eric Fromm’s suggestions on how to deal with the idea of free will are presented. Libet’s research findings that our brains gear into action milliseconds before we are actually conscious of our decision to act follow. How we can develop a viable sense of self under these conditions follows. Libet’s stance on protecting agency is explored next. Wegner’s reasons for viewing agency and self as illusions are reviewed next. G.H. Mead’s concept of emergence is then discussed, and this paves the way for agency as well as differences in Mead and Sperry on this subject.


Agency Emergence Conditioning Reductionism Free-will 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David D. Franks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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