Notions of “agency” have long been critical in theology, philosophy, ethics, psychology, and other fields. Agency is also foundational to Latter-day Saint teaching. Earlier this year the Neal A. Maxwell Institute hosted a faculty workshop gathering six scholars representing the humanities, social sciences, and life sciences for cross-disciplinary discussions about agency. The fruits of this research and conversation will be presented to the university community as a one-day symposium on March 29th, together with a keynote address by Dr. Mark Wrathall (University of Oxford).
Questions addressed will include:
- What is the relationship among agency, consciousness and action? How does the subjective experience of agency arise in human beings? Is agency best viewed as a mental choice-making capacity or as a potential for embodied action in response to indeterminacy?
- Accounts of a cosmic conflict in heaven are ubiquitous in world mythology and literature. In what ways is the Restoration account of the war in heaven unique? How did Joseph Smith understand agency?
- Paul and Mormon taught about the supremacy of faith, hope and, above all, charity (love). Does love offer a more complete or resolute expression of human agency than other virtues?
- How does agency function when our options are limited by the actions or inaction of others? How do relationships of interdependence affect the way we enact agency? How does hope expand agency when it is limited?
The symposium is free and open to the public.
Friday, March 29
9:00 am–4:00 pm
Education in Zion Theater (B192 JFSB)
Brigham Young University
9:00 am—WELCOME AND KEYNOTE
Mark Wrathall, University of Oxford
10:00 am—SESSION ONE
Philip Barlow, Maxwell Institute
Ryan Davis, Brigham Young University
11:30 am to 1:00 pm—LUNCH
1:00 pm—SESSION TWO
Deidre Green, Maxwell Institute
Charles W. Nuckolls, Brigham Young University
2:30 pm—SESSION THREE
Carl Griffin, Maxwell Institute
Steve Peck, Brigham Young University