How Not Count Agency: Agency in Medias Res, a Morally Closed Universe, and the Theory of Action

Martin Hájek


The text is inspired by the article of Steve Fuller named Making Agency Count (Fuller 1994) where Fuller introduced the concept of agency in medias res in order to treat agency as a kind of social „scarce good“. My aim is to show that while Fuller claim seems plausible in the light of the agency negotiation in the legal determination of patents, the fetal medicine or the fetal tissue research, there are nevertheless several problems in its implications. First, if we consider moral action as an example of agency, an altruistic actor, in order to not consume much from the stock of available agency, would resign from a moral action, or, in extreme case, would act immorally to provide more space for moral action. Second, agency is always connected to multiple meanings therefore what is considered as agency by one actor, could be considered as non-agency by another one. Agency can be multiplied by diversifi cation of attributed meanings, what is not the case of economic goods. In concluding the article I make a hypothesis that there is an interesting kind of agency (quasi-agency), which is produced by a social protection. Children, animals, fetuses are claimed to be actors but, in fact, this action magnify temporarily mainly the agency of claimants than those objects of protection.

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: