My attitude made me do it: considering the agency of attitudes

Hubrecht A. van Vuuren, François Cooren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

23 Citations (Scopus)


In proposing a next step in loosening the restriction of action to humans, this paper explores what we call the agency of attitudes and especially the ethical and practical questions that such recognition should entail. In line with Actor-Network Theory, we suggest that attitudes, passions and emotions can be seen to have agency in a similar vein as tangible agents (e.g., technological devices, texts, machines). We illustrate this suggestion using an example of socialization towards pain experienced during sports. Finally, we propose that the awareness of attitude’s agency extends rather than reduces the ownership of choice of people, as it facilitates making “true decisions.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-101
JournalHuman studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Agency
  • Attitudes
  • Actor-network theory
  • Undecidability
  • Responsibility


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