Spontaneity and Cognitive Agency

A Kantian Approach to the Contemporary Debate

Markos Valaris


Cognitive agency - the idea that our judgments and beliefs are manifestations of agency on our part - is a deeply entrenched aspect of our self-conception as persons. And yet it has proven hard to give a satisfying account of what such agency might consist in. In this paper I argue that getting clear about Kant’s notion of spontaneity might help us make progress in that debate. In particular, I argue that the very same assumption - namely, that agency must be understood on the model of production - has been holding us back in both areas.

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The Kant Yearbook is an international journal that publishes articles, historical or systematic, on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. It is the Kant Yearbook’s goal to intensify innovative research on Kant on an international scale. Articles are double-blind peer reviewed by an internationally renowned editorial board. Each issue is dedicated to a specific topic announced through a call for papers.