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Maria Alvarez (KCL) – “Agency and Responsibility – the Significance of Alternatives” (Public Lecture, U. Manchester)

29 September 2022, 4:00 PM6:00 PM BST

The Philosophy Department at the University of Manchester presents the latest in our series of annual public lectures, the Dorothy Emmet Lectures. This year we will have a hybrid presentation (you can join in person or via Zoom). The lecture will last around 45 minutes, followed by 45 minutes of Q&A. You will be able to ask questions in person or post them to the chair to read them out. The lecture will be followed by a workshop on 30th September.

Maria Alvarez (King’s College London), on “Agency and Responsibility – the Significance of Alternatives.”

THURSDAY 29 September, 4 pm — 6 pm GMT
Humanities Bridgeford Street (HBS) G6 | Oxford Road| Manchester | M15 6GY

There seems to be a link between responsibility and agency. While we are often responsible for the things we do or fail to do (our actions and omissions), and for their consequences, we are not equally responsible for the things that happen to us (what we undergo passively) – except indirectly, if they somehow result from something we do or omit doing. On this picture, agency underpins responsibility because, and in so far as, agency involves the capacity to control what happens. In this talk, I present an account of the agential capacities that underpin responsibility because they involve control, and explain the significance that having ‘alternatives’ plays in this context.



The Dorothy Emmet Lectures commemorate Dorothy Emmet, an eminent mid-20th Century philosopher and head of the Philosophy Department at Manchester for over 20 years. The lectures are aimed at the general public and require no prior knowledge of philosophy.


University of Manchester
Bridgeford building G6
Manchester, M15 6GY United Kingdom
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