Agency and Stereotyping
Aness Webster (Nottingham University), Aness Webster (University of Southern California)

March 10, 2021, 8:30am - 10:30am
Department of Philosophy, University of Miami

United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


University of Miami
University of Miami
Kate Villa
University of Miami

Topic areas


On Wednesday March 10th at 1:30 PM EST, the University of Miami chapter of Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) will host our first talk of spring 2021 by invited speaker Dr. Aness Webster. MAP is an international organization that aims to promote inclusivity and diversity in the field of philosophy. 

Our speaker is an assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of Nottingham. She works on value theory, broadly construed. More recently, she has been rethinking particular issues that arise in the normative domain (agency, autonomy, well-being, and shame to name a few) by considering the details of certain kinds of lived experiences.

The title of the talk is Agency and Stereotyping. After the talk there will be a Q&A and then an informal discussion with the speaker for current students.

Here is the abstract: One natural answer (agency-based answer) is that stereotyping is wrong because it fails to respect an individual’s agency. However, this thought has been scrutinised. In this talk, I make two moves in an attempt to rehabilitate the thought that stereotyping undermines agency. The first move is to broaden the notion of agency by appealing to (past) exercises of agency that are related to the stereotyping in question. The second move is to take seriously that agency is exercised in the social world. Once we do that, we can see that stereotyping can and does undermine our agency by reducing the quality and the kinds of choices that are available to us. Although these moves allow us to improve the agency-based explanation, undermining agency is not always an overriding reasoning against stereotyping. This results in a messier picture of when and why stereotyping is wrong, but I argue that this is a feature, not a bug.

This talk will be free and open to the public and will feature live closed captioning. It will be held on Zoom:

If you have any questions or concerns about this event or any accessibility issues, please contact MAP representative Kate Villa ([email protected]), Jisoo Seo ([email protected]), and Elizabeth Cantalamessa ([email protected]).

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