Winter School: Agents and Agency, 25 – 26 January 2016, Netherlands

Publish Date: Oct 15, 2015

Deadline: Dec 01, 2015

Event Dates: from Jan 25, 2016 12:00 to Jan 26, 2016 12:00

About Agents and Agency Qinter School

After two very successful installments, on January 25th-26th 2016, the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningenwill host its third yearly Winter School, aimed primarily at advanced undergraduate students and early-stage graduate students. The theme of the Winter School this year is Agents and Agency, and it will consist of 6 tutorials where the topic will be discussed from different viewpoints: theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, and the history of philosophy.


In very general terms, an agent is a being with the capacity to act, i.e. a being who chooses at least to some extent its course of events; agency denotes the exercise or manifestation of this capacity. Some authors see agency as the characteristic feature of humans, whereas others extend the concept of agency to non-human animals. While some entities in the world are agents, i.e. have agency thus understood, others – say, inanimate objects – seemingly are not, but even this categorization is not unproblematic. In other words, the notions of agent and agency bring along a host of philosophical issues. Debates about the nature of agency have a long-standing tradition in the history of philosophy, and flourished over the past few decades in contemporary philosophy as well as other areas of research. The nature of agency is an important issue in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of psychology, the debates on free will and moral responsibility, in ethics, meta-ethics, and in the debates on the nature of reasons and rationality (including issues pertaining to epistemic agency). Moreover, understanding the roots of this debate is a matter of considerable discussion among historians of philosophy. This Winter School will provide an introduction to this complex and fascinating array of problems and approaches.

Lecturers and Tutorials

  • Frank Hindriks: ‘Collective moral agency’
  • Pauline Kleingeld: 'Agency, Autonomy, and Freedom of the Will'
  • Barteld Kooi: 'Agency in logic '
  • Tamer Nawar: ‘Aristotle on Agency and Action’
  • Jeanne Peijnenburg: 'Knowing in part and acting in retrospect'
  • Andrea Sangiacomo: ‘Powerless agents? The challenge of occasionalism and the seventeenth-century scientific revolution’
  • Special session: ‘A career in Philosophy’: this session will provide an overview of how to pursue a career in philosophy, what the required competencies are, and some suitable strategies to develop them.

As such, the program will showcase the high level of teaching and research of the three departments of the Faculty (theoretical philosophy; ethics, social and political philosophy; history of philosophy). The Winter School is open to all qualified participants (students both at advanced bachelor and graduate levels, and beyond). In particular, it will offer a unique opportunity for those students interested in pursuing a career in Philosophy to appreciate from the inside the quality of the research carried out at the Faculty of Philosophy in Groningen and of its Research Master’s programme.


The Faculty is offering up to three EUR 300 scholarships for the best students enrolling in the Winter School, and who express serious interest in later applying for the Research Masters’ program. To apply for the scholarships, send a short CV (max 2 pages) and a letter (max 1 page) stating your interest in the Faculty of Philosophy in Groningen and the Research Masters’ program in particular, to winterschoolphilosophy 'at' with 'Application for winter school scholarship' as subject. The deadline to apply for the scholarships is December 1st 2015. Preference will be given to members of underrepresented groups in philosophy (women, people of color, persons with disabilities etc.).


To register, send an email with your name, affiliation and status (undergraduate, graduate) to winterschoolphilosophy 'at' with 'Registration for winter school' as subject, no later than December 15th 2015. As the number of spots is limited, you are encouraged to register early.

General Information

  • Dates: January 25th – 26th 2016
  • Scholarship application deadline: December 1st 2015
  • Registration deadline: December 15th 2015
  • Registration fee: EUR 40, to be paid in person in Groningen

Further inquiries can be directed to Catarina Dutilh Novaes, c.dutilh.novaes 'at', and Andrea Sangiacomo, a.sangiacomo ‘at’

Programme: TBA

Location: Faculty of Philosophy

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