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Changes of StateNature and the Limits of the City in Early Modern Natural Law$
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Annabel S. Brett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691141930

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691141930.001.0001

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Constructing human agency

Constructing human agency

(p.37) Chapter Two Constructing human agency
Changes of State

Annabel S. Brett

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that human agency is free agency. It is freedom, or dominium over one's own actions, which makes a human being different from all other animals; and it is the foundation of the world of the moral, the juridical, and the political, which are all continuous with one another and from which animals—and a fortiori all other natural agents—are excluded. However, during the sixteenth century, the idea that human beings are essentially and ineradicably free to control their own actions came under severe pressure from new and irreconcilable theological differences over the freedom of the human will—differences that therefore implicitly pressured the primary threshold of political space.

Keywords:   human agency, free agency, freedom, human beings, theological differences, human will, political space

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