Breaking the Code: Strong Agency and Becoming a Person

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


According to the philosopher Harry Frankfurt, being a person consists in being the sort of creature who can take control of its own will. At root, this capability consists in being able to take pro and contra attitudes with respect to at least some of one’s own volitional states. Strong agents are planful with respect to the future and, in part, recognise themselves through their plans. Strong agents are also self-regulative. In other words, it is their ability to form long-term intentions (policies) and then use these to shape their proclivities, habits, and abilities over time that makes them self-determining. In Blade Runner 2049, we gradually see a more coherent and stable Joi, a holographic virtual girlfriend, emerge. In fact, she succeeds in “breaking the code”—violating a set of constraints that define the limits of her autonomy. The movie teaches us that what is important in becoming a person is the realisation of agency and becoming a project for oneself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBlade Runner 2049
Subtitle of host publicationA Philosophical Exploration
EditorsTimothy Shanahan, Paul Smart
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429460036
ISBN (Print)9781138625334, 9781138625303
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePhilosophers on Film


Dive into the research topics of 'Breaking the Code: Strong Agency and Becoming a Person'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this