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Agency, thinking and reflexivity

In this video, Mark Solms talks about the relationship between free will, agency, thinking and reflexivity.

While instincts don’t require decision-making, everything else we have to learn for survival is based on making choices – and these choices require thinking. This is where agency kicks in.

I define thinking as imagined or experimental action. It depends on the suppression – or inhibition – of instincts, enabling us not to act. This is what is meant by the philosophical concept of free will. Another way of describing agency is as the ownership of your intentionality.

This same property also applies to subjectivity and consciousness – I am the subject of my mind and these conscious experiences belong to me. So, reflexivity is another property of agency – the ability to observe yourself, to be aware of your own awareness, to see yourself as an object. This involves abstraction, and the best tool we have for abstraction is language.

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What is a Mind?

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