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Polaris Koi (University of Turku): ‘What are my options?’
25 January, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Abstract: This paper seeks to understand decision set constituents, that is, options. When agents form intentions and make choices, the intending and choosing is only meaningful because the agent is selecting from a set of options. In much theorizing about intending, choosing and acting, including philosophical approaches to neuroscience and free will as well as decision theory, the presence of a salient set of options is a starting point rather than the topic of inquiry. Option generation is a necessary but overlooked aspect of this process of intentional action, and required for option evaluation, choice, and implementation. This paper aims to probe this relatively unknown terrain by asking two interconnected questions: first, what are options? Second, how do agents come by their option sets? Answering these two questions would enable us to understand how it is that we come by option sets and thereby to understand what sorts of option sets we can expect to find for ourselves and for others. I analyse options as mental content that are agent-specific rather than object-specific; that involve representations about courses of behaviour for the agent; and that are tacitly judged feasible for the agent by the agent. This analysis suggests that options sets often are small, and that nonhuman agents also have options. I also discuss the relationship between options (thus construed) and affordances.
Polaris Koi is a Senior Researcher in the CLIMATE-NUDGE STN project. Within the project, their focus is on the ethical and theoretical aspects of choice architecture interventions. They were previously, e.g., Junior Investigator in the Genetics and Human Agency research project.
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