Conceptual Inventory

A | E | F | G | I | M | N | P | R | S | T


Either: the quality or state of being well-suited to a set of environmental conditions; or, a phenotypic character that contributes to fitting an organism to a set of environmental conditions; or, the process that results in organisms becoming better suited to a set of environmental conditions.


Amundson, R. (1996). “Historical development of the concept of adaptation.” In M.R. Rose & G.V. Lauder (Eds.), Adaptation (pp. 11–54). New York: Academic Press.

Agency (Collective)

The capacity of two or more individuals to act together to achieve a shared aim, in particular, when achieving this aim requires coordinated action.


Roth, A.S. (2017). "Shared agency.” In E.N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition).

Topical Filter:
Agency and Autonomy

Agency (General, or Minimal)

The capacity of a system to act on its own behalf: to initiate, sustain and terminate activities within an environment.


Kauffman, S.A. (2000). Investigations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Agency (Intentional)

The capacity of a system to perform activities guided by intentional states (states that represent, or are directed upon, things and states of affairs beyond the system).


O’Brien, L. (2022). “Intentional agency.” In L. Ferrero (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Agency (pp. 109–117). London: Routledge.

Agential Explanation

A form of explanation that involves a reference to the goals (real or apparent) of agents. Here “agents” should be understood as entities exhibiting at least minimal agency; see “Agency (General, or Minimal).”


Okasha, S. (2018). Agents and goals in evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.