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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter aims to address two related challenges the phenomenon of depression raises for theories which present autonomy as an agency concept and an independent source of justification. The first challenge is directed at an intuitive conception of intentional agency as implying a robust though not always direct link between evaluation and motivation, for in depression what appears to be choice-worthy does not get chosen. The second challenge targets the feasibility of a reliable distinction between autonomous and non-autonomous choices, for both value-neutral and value-laden accounts of depressive agency seem open to decisive objections. Drawing on Freud's interpretation of melancholia and Korsgaard's notion of practical identity, the chapter develops a conception of paradoxical identification which helps address the two challenges described and supports a revised value-neutral account of depressive agency as being non-autonomous.

Keywords: agency, autonomy, identification, intention, depression, decisional capacity, the guise of the good, motives, values

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