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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 46, Issue 2, April 2020

August Gorman
Pages 277-297

Depression’s Threat to Self-Governance

Much of the literature on impairment to self-governance focuses on cases in which a person either lacks the ability to protect herself from errant urges or cases in which a person lacks the capacity to initiate self-reflective agential processes. This has led to frameworks for thinking about self-governance designed with only the possibility of these sorts of impairments in mind. I challenge this orthodoxy using the case of melancholic depression to show that there is a third way that self-governance can be undermined: an agent may fail to form the desire she most wants to act on.

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