Shared Agency

A Planning Theory of Acting Together

Author: Michael Bratman

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199339996

Category: Law

Page: 219

View: 8676

Human beings act together in characteristic ways that matter to us a great deal. This book explores the conceptual, metaphysical and normative foundations of such sociality. It argues that appeal to the planning structures involved in our individual, temporally extended agency provides substantial resources for understanding these foundations of our sociality.

Shared Agency

A Planning Theory of Acting Together

Author: Michael E. Bratman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199897948

Category: Philosophy

Page: 250

View: 3560

Human beings act together in characteristic ways, and these forms of shared activity matter to us a great deal. Think of friendship and love, singing duets, dancing together, and the joys of conversation. And think about the usefulness of conversation and how we frequently manage to work together to achieve complex goals, from building buildings to putting on plays to establishing important results in the sciences. With Shared Agency, Michael E. Bratman seeks to answer questions about the conceptual, metaphysical and normative foundations of our sociality and to establish a framework for understanding basic forms of sociality. Bratman proposes that a rich account of individual planning agency facilitates the step to these forms of sociality. There is an independent reason - grounded in the diachronic organization of our temporally extended agency - to see planning structures as basic to our individual agency. Once these planning structures are on board, we can expect them to play central roles in our sociality. This planning theory of individual agency highlights distinctive roles and norms of intentions, understood as plan states. In Shared Agency Bratman argues that appeals to these planning structures enable us to provide adequate resources for an account of sufficient conditions for these basic forms of sociality. Shared agency emerges, both functionally and rationally, from structures of interconnected planning agency.

Shared Agency

A Planning Theory of Acting Together

Author: Michael Bratman

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 9780199897933

Category: Law

Page: 219

View: 5026

Human beings act together in characteristic ways that matter to us a great deal. This book explores the conceptual, metaphysical and normative foundations of such sociality. It argues that appeal to the planning structures involved in our individual, temporally extended agency provides substantial resources for understanding these foundations of our sociality.

Group Agency

The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents

Author: Christian List,Philip Pettit

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199591563

Category: Law

Page: 238

View: 6936

Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? How do we explain their behaviour? Can we treat them as accountable for their actions? List and Pettit offer original arguments, grounded in cutting-edge work on social choice, economics, and philosophy, to show there really are group agents, over and above the individual agents who compose them.

Rational and Social Agency

The Philosophy of Michael Bratman

Author: Manuel Vargas,Gideon Yaffe

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199794669

Category: Philosophy

Page: 256

View: 2475

Michael Bratman's work has been unusually influential, with significance in disciplines as diverse as philosophy, computer science, law, and primatology. This is a collection of critical essays by some of contemporary philosophy's most distinguished figures, including Margaret Gilbert, Richard Holton, Christine Korsgaard, Alfred Mele, Elijah Milgram, Kieran Setiya, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Scott Shapiro, Michael Smith, J. David Velleman, R. Jay Wallace. It also contains an introduction by the editors, situating Bratman's work and its broader significance. The essays in this volume engage with ideas and themes prominent in Bratman's work. The volume also includes a lengthy reply by Bratman that breaks new ground and deepens our understanding of the nature of action, rationality, and social agency.

Groups as Agents

Author: Deborah Perron Tollefsen

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0745684874

Category: Philosophy

Page: 184

View: 9598

In the social sciences and in everyday speech we often talk about groups as if they behaved in the same way as individuals, thinking and acting as a singular being. We say for example that "Google intends to develop an automated car", "the U.S. Government believes that Syria has used chemical weapons on its people", or that "the NRA wants to protect the rights of gun owners". We also often ascribe legal and moral responsibility to groups. But could groups literally intend things? Is there such a thing as a collective mind? If so, should groups be held morally responsible? Such questions are of vital importance to our understanding of the social world. In this lively, engaging introduction Deborah Tollefsen offers a careful survey of contemporary philosophers? answers to these questions, and argues for the unorthodox view that certain groups should, indeed, be treated as agents and deserve to be held morally accountable. Tollefsen explores the nature of belief, action and intention, and shows the reader how a belief in group agency can be reconciled with our understanding of individual agency and accountability. Groups as Agents will be a vital resource for scholars as well as for students of philosophy and the social sciences encountering the topic for the first time.

Social Ontology

Collective Intentionality and Group Agents

Author: Raimo Tuomela

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019061238X


Page: 328

View: 7723

Social ontology, in its broadest sense, is the study of the nature of social reality, including collective intentions and agency. The starting point of Tuomela's account of collective intentionality is the distinction between thinking and acting as a private person ("I-mode") versus as a "we-thinking" group member ("we-mode"). The we-mode approach is based on social groups consisting of persons, which may range from simple task groups consisting of a few persons to corporations and even to political states. Tuomela extends the we-mode notion to cover groups controlled by external authority. Thus, for instance, cooperation and attitude formation are studied in cases where the participants are governed "from above" as in many corporations. The volume goes on to present a systematic philosophical theory related to the collectivism-versus-individualism debate in the social sciences. A weak version of collectivism (the "we-mode" approach) depends on group-based collective intentionality. We-mode collective intentionality is not individualistically reducible and is needed to complement individualistic accounts in social scientific theorizing. The we-mode approach is used in the book to account for collective intention and action, cooperation, group attitudes, and social practices and institutions, as well as group solidarity. Tuomela establishes the first complete theory of group reasons (in the sense of members' reasons for participation in group activities). The book argues in terms of game-theoretical group-reasoning that the kind of weak collectivism that the we-mode approach involves is both conceptually and rational-functionally different from what an individualistic approach ("pro-group I-mode" approach) entails.

Joint Commitment

How We Make the Social World

Author: Margaret Gilbert

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190251956

Category: Philosophy

Page: 466

View: 4977

In this wide-ranging collection of essays, distinguished philosopher Margaret Gilbert investigates the structure of our social world. People often speak of what we do, think, and feel, and of our values, conventions, and laws. Asking what we mean by such talk, Gilbert invokes the foundational idea of joint commitment. She applies this idea to topics ranging from the mutual recognition of two people to the unity of the European Union, from marital love to patriotism, from promissory obligation to the rights of those who issue authoritative commands. Written clearly and without undue technicality, this richly textured collection of essays makes a powerful argument for the importance of joint commitment in our personal and public lives.

Planning, Time, and Self-Governance

Essays in Practical Rationality

Author: Michael E. Bratman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019086785X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 288

View: 7685

Our human capacity for planning agency plays central roles in the cross-temporal organization of our agency, in our acting and thinking together (both at a time and over time), and in our self-governance (both at a time and over time). Intentions can be understood as states in such a planning system. The practical thinking at the bottom of this planning capacity is guided by norms that enjoin synchronic plan consistency and means-end coherence as well as forms of plan stability over time. The essays in this book aim to deepen our understanding of these norms and to defend their status as norms of practical rationality for planning agents. The general guidance by these planning norms has many pragmatic benefits, especially given our cognitive and epistemic limits. But appeal to these general pragmatic benefits does not fully explain the normative force of these norms in the particular case. In response to this challenge some think these norms are, at bottom, norms of theoretical rationality on one's beliefs; some think these norms are constitutive of intentional agency; some think they are norms of interpretation; and some think the idea of such norms of practical rationality is a myth. These essays chart an alternative path. This path sees these planning norms as tracking conditions of a planning agent's self-governance, both at a time and over time. It seeks associated models of such self-governance. And it appeals to the idea that the end of one's self-governance over time, while not essential to intentional agency per se, is, within the planning framework, rationally self-sustaining and a keystone of a rationally stable reflective equilibrium that involves the norms of plan rationality. This end is thereby in a position to play a role in our planning framework that parallels the role of a concern with quality of will within the framework of the reactive emotions, as understood by Peter Strawson.

From Individual to Collective Intentionality

New Essays

Author: Sara Rachel Chant,Frank Hindriks,Gerhard Preyer

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199936501

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 240

View: 8343

Acting together requires collective intentions. The contributions to this volume seek to critically assess or to enrich theories of collective intentionality by exploring topics such as collective belief, mutual coordination, and the explanation of group behavior.

From Individual to Plural Agency

Collective Action I

Author: Kirk Ludwig

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198755627


Page: 320

View: 9558

Kirk Ludwig develops a novel reductive account of plural discourse about collective action and shared intention. Part I develops the event analysis of action sentences, provides an account of the content of individual intentions, and on that basis an analysis of individual intentional action. Part II shows how to extend the account to collective action, intentional and unintentional, and shared intention, expressed in sentences with plural subjects. On the account developed, collective action is a matter of there being multiple agents of an event and it requires no group agents per se. Shared intention is a matter of agents in a group each intending that they bring about some end in accordance with a shared plan. Thus their participatory intentions (their we-intentions) differ from individual intentions not in their mode but in their content. Joint intentional action then is a matter of a group of individuals successfully executing a shared intention. The account does not reduce shared intention to aggregates of individual intentions. However, it argues that the content of we-intentions can be analyzed wholly in terms of concepts already at play in our understanding of individual intentional action. The account thus vindicates methodological individualism for plural agency. The account is contrasted with other major positions on shared intention and joint action, and defended against objections. This forms the foundation for a reductive account of the agency of mobs and institutions, expressed in grammatically singular action sentences about groups and their intentions, in a second volume.

The Ant Trap

Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences

Author: Brian Epstein

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199381119

Category: Philosophy

Page: 256

View: 4500

We live in a world of crowds and corporations, artworks and artifacts, legislatures and languages, money and markets. These are all social objects - they are made, at least in part, by people and by communities. But what exactly are these things? How are they made, and what is the role of people in making them? In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein rewrites our understanding of the nature of the social world and the foundations of the social sciences. Epstein explains and challenges the three prevailing traditions about how the social world is made. One tradition takes the social world to be built out of people, much as traffic is built out of cars. A second tradition also takes people to be the building blocks of the social world, but focuses on thoughts and attitudes we have toward one another. And a third tradition takes the social world to be a collective projection onto the physical world. Epstein shows that these share critical flaws. Most fundamentally, all three traditions overestimate the role of people in building the social world: they are overly anthropocentric. Epstein starts from scratch, bringing the resources of contemporary metaphysics to bear. In the place of traditional theories, he introduces a model based on a new distinction between the grounds and the anchors of social facts. Epstein illustrates the model with a study of the nature of law, and shows how to interpret the prevailing traditions about the social world. Then he turns to social groups, and to what it means for a group to take an action or have an intention. Contrary to the overwhelming consensus, these often depend on more than the actions and intentions of group members.

Staying Alive

Personal Identity, Practical Concerns, and the Unity of a Life

Author: Marya Schechtman

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191507784

Category: Philosophy

Page: 224

View: 9753

Judgments of personal identity stand at the heart of our daily transactions. Family life, friendships, institutions of justice, and systems of compensation all rely on our ability to reidentify people. It is not as obvious as it might at first appear just how to express this relation between facts about personal identity and practical interests in a philosophical account of personal identity. A natural thought is that whatever relation is proposed as the one which constitutes the sameness of a person must be important to us in just the way identity is. This simple understanding of the connection between personal identity and practical concerns has serious difficulties, however. One is that the relations that underlie our practical judgments do not seem suited to providing a metaphysical account of the basic, literal continuation of an entity. Another is that the practical interests we associate with identity are many and varied and it seems impossible that a single relation could simultaneously capture what is necessary and sufficient for all of them. Staying Alive offers a new way of thinking about the relation between personal identity and practical interests which allows us to overcome these difficulties and to offer a view in which the most basic and literal facts about personal identity are inherently connected to practical concerns. This account, the 'Person Life View', sees persons as unified loci of practical interaction, and defines the identity of a person in terms of the unity of a characteristic kind of life made up of dynamic interactions among biological, psychological, and social attributes and functions mediated through social and cultural infrastructure.

Intention and Agency

Author: Donald F. Gustafson

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9400945205

Category: Philosophy

Page: 209

View: 4805

The powers of seeing, hearing, re membering, distinguishing, judging, reason ing, are speculative powers; the power of ex ecuting any work of art or labour is active power. Thomas Reid I Some causal efficacy is due to persons. And, some of the causal efficacy due to persons is imparted by, not merely to, them. Further, some of the causal efficacy due to persons and imparted by them is imparted by and not merely to their physical, active bodies. Otherwise there is no agency. I will assume, with everyone at the outset, that the world contains agency of the kind found in some of a person's comings and goings, movings and changing of things. Agency is exhibited in more and in less sophisticated forms, that is, in any sophisticated, artful activity and in less complex, non-articulate physical activities. In both there appears to be more than mere causal efficacy imparted to the environment by a person. In sophisticated agen cy activities are organized, guided, purposive and purposeful comings and goings, movings and changes. And purpose is not absent in less soph isticated purposive activities of active creatures. So I shall argue in what follows. Now is the time for introducing the themes, topics, and issues to be considered, and the plan and purpose in them.

Structures of Agency


Author: Michael E. Bratman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780195345995

Category: Philosophy

Page: 336

View: 5626

This is a collection of published and unpublished essays by distinguished philosopher Michael E. Bratman of Stanford University. They revolve around his influential theory, know as the "planning theory of intention and agency." Bratman's primary concern is with what he calls "strong" forms of human agency--including forms of human agency that are the target of our talk about self-determination, self-government, and autonomy. These essays are unified and cohesive in theme, and will be of interest to philosophers in ethics and metaphysics.


Author: Simon Keller

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400846382

Category: Philosophy

Page: 176

View: 5968

We are partial to people with whom we share special relationships--if someone is your child, parent, or friend, you wouldn't treat them as you would a stranger. But is partiality justified, and if so, why? Partiality presents a theory of the reasons supporting special treatment within special relationships and explores the vexing problem of how we might reconcile the moral value of these relationships with competing claims of impartial morality. Simon Keller explains that in order to understand why we give special treatment to our family and friends, we need to understand how people come to matter in their own rights. Keller first presents two main accounts of partiality: the projects view, on which reasons of partiality arise from the place that people take within our lives and our commitments, and the relationships view, on which relationships themselves contain fundamental value or reason-giving force. Keller then argues that neither view is satisfactory because neither captures the experience of acting well within special relationships. Instead, Keller defends the individuals view, on which reasons of partiality arise from the value of the individuals with whom our relationships are shared. He defends this view by saying that we must accept that two people, whether friend or stranger, can have the same value, even as their value makes different demands upon people with whom they share different relationships. Keller explores the implications of this claim within a wider understanding of morality and our relationships with groups, institutions, and countries.

The Philosophy of Sociality

The Shared Point of View

Author: Raimo Tuomela

Publisher: OUP USA

ISBN: 0195313399


Page: 318

View: 4827

Concepts based on full-blown collective intentionality (aboutness), viz., we-mode intentionality, are central for understanding and explaining the social world. The book systematically studies social groups, acting in them as a group member, collective commitment, group intentions, beliefs, and actions, especially authority-based group attitudes and actions. There are also chapters on cooperation, social institutions, cultural evolution, and group responsibility.

A People's History of the United States


Author: Howard Zinn

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317325303

Category: History

Page: 744

View: 6384

This is a new edition of the radical social history of America from Columbus to the present. This powerful and controversial study turns orthodox American history upside down to portray the social turmoil behind the "march of progress". Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of - and in the words of - America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of America's greatest battles - the fights for fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality - were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance. Covering Christopher Columbus's arrival through the Clinton years A People's History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981, is an insightful analysis of the most important events in US history.

From Plural to Institutional Agency

Collective Action II

Author: Kirk Ludwig

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198789998

Category: Philosophy

Page: 312

View: 2034

Kirk Ludwig presents a philosophical account of institutional action, such as action by corporations and nation states, arguing that it can be understood exhaustively in terms of the agency of individuals and concepts constructed out of materials that are already at play in our understanding of individual action. He thus argues for a strong form of methodological individualism. The book provides a new account of the logical form of grammatically singular group action sentences (e.g. 'Company laid off 10,000 workers'), and features new analyses of the concepts of a constitutive rule, status function, status role, collective acceptance, and proxy agency. He also provides an analysis of the structure of corporate action, including the status of corporations as legal persons, and of the nature of state action in relation to its citizens. This is the companion volume to From Individual to Plural Agency (OUP 2016), extending the multiple-agents account of collective action set out in the earlier volume.