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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access September 26, 2018

The Illusion of Agency as a Mark of Ultimacy

  • Hugh Nicholson EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Theology


This essay proposes that action unaccompanied by the usual feeling of conscious agency constitutes a “mark of ultimacy.” Characteristically religious statements of “agentless action” find support in social psychological and cognitive scientific research that calls into question the intuitive belief that conscious thought causes action. An awareness of the limits of our powers of will lies at the the core of those limit experiences that provide the context for the meaningfulness of religious language.


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Received: 2018-07-02
Accepted: 2018-08-20
Published Online: 2018-09-26
Published in Print: 2018-09-01

© by Hugh Nicholson, published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.

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