By Mutsumi Yamamoto
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Extra resources for Agency And Impersonality: Their Linguistic And Cultural Manifestations (Studies in Language Companion Series, Volume 78)
T. as repeated in (22) below: (22) Torch-fingering his butter knife, he took out the temper, then bent and bolted it to the coat hanger, along with the fork, to form a ratchet device: knife and fork moved in and out of the teeth of the saw blade, advancing it tooth by tooth. Here, in the world of science fiction, the ‘animation’ of knife and fork by the spell of the little old alien makes them function as if these inanimate objects are ‘metaphorical agents’. To a certain extent, it seems necessary to accept the notion of ‘metaphorical animacy’ and ‘metaphorical agency’, which are expressed by the figurative use of language.
Aristotle granted only higher animals, who/which are therefore highly animate, the faculty of intentionality and consciousness, which naturally embraces ‘awareness of action’. This means that amongst the conceptual constituents of agency, animacy is the most fundamental; for instance, ‘intentionality’ forms a part of ‘sentiency’, which forms a part of ‘inferred animacy’. ‘Inferred animacy’, together with ‘animacy per se’, constructs the entire picture of the animacy concept. Accordingly, there will be constant recourse to this correlation between animacy and agency throughout the linguistic discussions which will be unfolded in the forthcoming chapters.
Aristotle’s point here seems more concrete than the expression ‘awareness of the action’: he specifically states that one has to know what he/she is performing, who or what is/are to be affected by the action, what instrument(s) is/are required to perform the action. When taking into account a part of the third condition above, one has to even ‘know’ the teleological effect of his/her action. Whether the ‘knowledge’ of such minute details of the relevant particulars involved in an action is a necessary condition of performing an intentional action (or simply, an action, following Davidson and Searle) is a question we will not ask ourselves in the current context, but it is reasonable to state here that the concept of ‘awareness’ or ‘knowledge’ is a relevant factor in characterising the overall nature of agency.
Agency And Impersonality: Their Linguistic And Cultural Manifestations (Studies in Language Companion Series, Volume 78) by Mutsumi Yamamoto