An agent, as Lowe uses the term, is any persisting substance, a bearer of properties capable of undergoing change. An event is such a change, and any event (even one of passively undergoing some change) counts as an act of some agent. Agency, then, is widespread and need have nothing to do with mind or even life. Persons, however, are a specific kind of agent, those who are capable of self-awareness and rational agency; agency of this specific type is personal agency.

What is the nature of a human person, and in what does our rational agency consist? These are the main questions to which this book is addressed.

A popular view has it that we are material beings; on one version, each of us is a living human animal. Our thoughts, sensations, perceptions, and so forth are physical states of such biological beings. Our intentional...

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