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  1. Structural Injustice, Shared Obligations, and Global Civil Society.Jelena Belic & Zlata Bozac - forthcoming - Social Theory and Practice.
    It is frequently argued that to address structural injustice, individuals should participate in collective actions organized by civil society organizations (CSOs), but the role and the normative status of CSOs are rarely discussed. In this paper, we argue that CSOs semi-perfect our shared obligation to address structural injustice by defining shared goals as well as taking actions to further them. This assigns a special moral status to CSOs, which in turn gives rise to our duty to support them. Thus, we (...)
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  2. Hybrid Collective Intentionality.Thomas Brouwer, Roberta Ferrario & Daniele Porello - forthcoming - Synthese:1-37.
    The theory of collective agency and intentionality is a flourishing field of research, and our understanding of these phenomena has arguably increased greatly in recent years. Extant theories, however, are still ill-equipped to explain certain aspects of collective intentionality. In this article we draw attention to two such underappreciated aspects: the failure of the intentional states of collectives to supervene on the intentional states of their members, and the role of non-human factors in collective agency and intentionality. We propose a (...)
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  3. What It Might Be Like to Be a Group Agent.Max F. Kramer - forthcoming - Neuroethics:1-11.
    Many theorists have defended the claim that collective entities can attain genuine agential status. If collectives can be agents, this opens up a further question: can they be conscious? That is, is there something that it is like to be them? Eric Schwitzgebel [1] argues that yes, collective entities (including the United States, taken as a whole), may well be significantly conscious. Others, including Kammerer [2], Tononi and Koch [3], and List [4] reject the claim. List does so on the (...)
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  4. Group Agents and Moral Status: What Can We Owe to Organizations?Adam Lovett & Stefan Riedener - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
    Organizations have neither a right to the vote nor a weighty right to life. We need not enfranchise Goldman Sachs. We should feel few scruples in dissolving Standard Oil. But they are not without rights altogether. We can owe it to them to keep our promises. We can owe them debts of gratitude. Thus, we can owe some things to organizations. But we cannot owe them everything we can owe to people. They seem to have a peculiar, fragmented moral status. (...)
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  5. Group Action Without Group Minds.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Groups behave in a variety of ways. To show that this behavior amounts to action, it would be best to fit it into a general account of action. However, nearly every account from the philosophy of action requires the agent to have mental states such as beliefs, desires, and intentions. Unfortunately, theorists are divided over whether groups can instantiate these states—typically depending on whether or not they are willing to accept functionalism about the mind. But we can avoid this debate. (...)
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  6. Group Agency and Artificial Intelligence.Christian List - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology:1-30.
    The aim of this exploratory paper is to review an under-appreciated parallel between group agency and artificial intelligence. As both phenomena involve non-human goal-directed agents that can make a difference to the social world, they raise some similar moral and regulatory challenges, which require us to rethink some of our anthropocentric moral assumptions. Are humans always responsible for those entities’ actions, or could the entities bear responsibility themselves? Could the entities engage in normative reasoning? Could they even have rights and (...)
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  7. Collective Responsibility and Acting Together.Olle Blomberg & Frank Hindriks - 2020 - In Saba Bazargan-Forward & Deborah Tollefsen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Collective Responsibility. Routledge.
    What is the moral significance of the contrast between acting together and strategic interaction? We argue that while collective moral responsibility is not uniquely tied to the former, the degree to which the participants in a shared intentional wrongdoing are blameworthy is normally higher than when agents bring about the same wrong as a result of strategic interaction. One argument for this claim focuses on the fact that shared intentions cause intended outcomes in a more robust manner than the intentions (...)
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  8. 'Ought Implies Can' and the Possibility of Group Obligations.Isaac Hadfield - 2020 - British Undergraduate Philosophy Review 1 (1):40-49.
    Positing group level obligations has come under attack from concerns relating to agency as a necessary requirement for obligation bearing. Roughly stated, the worry is that since only agents can have moral obligations, and groups are not agents, groups cannot have moral obligations. The intuition behind this constraint is itself based on the ability requirement of 'ought implies can': in order for a group to have an obligation it must have the ability to perform an action, but only agents can (...)
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  9. What Are Social Groups? Their Metaphysics and How to Classify Them.Brian Epstein - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):4899-4932.
    This paper presents a systematic approach for analyzing and explaining the nature of social groups. I argue against prominent views that attempt to unify all social groups or to divide them into simple typologies. Instead I argue that social groups are enormously diverse, but show how we can investigate their natures nonetheless. I analyze social groups from a bottom-up perspective, constructing profiles of the metaphysical features of groups of specific kinds. We can characterize any given kind of social group with (...)
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  10. Existence, Really? Tacit Disagreements About “Existence” in Disputes About Group Minds and Corporate Agents.Johannes Himmelreich - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4939-4953.
    A central dispute in social ontology concerns the existence of group minds and actions. I argue that some authors in this dispute rely on rival views of existence without sufficiently acknowledging this divergence. I proceed in three steps in arguing for this claim. First, I define the phenomenon as an implicit higher-order disagreement by drawing on an analysis of verbal disputes. Second, I distinguish two theories of existence—the theory-commitments view and the truthmaker view—in both their eliminativist and their constructivist variants. (...)
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  11. We Are Not a Plural Subject.Ludger Jansen - 2018 - ProtoSociology 35:167-196.
    In "On Social Facts" (1989) and subsequent works, Margaret Gilbert has suggested a plural subject account of the semantics of ‘we’ that claims that a central or standard use of ‘we’ is to refer to an existing or anticipated plural subject. This contrasts with the more general approach to treat plural pronouns as expressions referring to certain pluralities. I argue that (i) the plural subject approach cannot account for certain syntactic phenomena and that (ii) the sense of intimacy, which Gilbert (...)
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  12. Organisations and Variable Embodiments.Daniele Porello, Roberta Ferrario & Claudio Masolo - 2018 - In Stefano Borgo, Pascal Hitzler & Oliver Kutz (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference, {FOIS} 2018, Cape Town, South Africa, 19-21 September 2018. pp. 127--140.
    How can organisations survive not only the substitution of members, but also other dramatic changes, like that of the norms regulating their activities, the goals they plan to achieve, or the system of roles that compose them? This paper is as first step towards a well-founded ontological analysis of the persistence of organisations through changes. Our analysis leverages Kit Fine’s notions of rigid and variable embodiment and proposes to view the (history of the) decisions made by the members of the (...)
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  13. The Curious Case of Ronald McDonald’s Claim to Rights: An Ontological Account of Differences in Group and Individual Person Rights: Winner of the 2016 Essay Competition of the International Social Ontology Society.Leonie Smith - 2018 - Journal of Social Ontology 4 (1):1-28.
    Performative accounts of personhood argue that group agents are persons, fit to be held responsible within the social sphere. Nonetheless, these accounts want to retain a moral distinction between group and individual persons. That: Group-persons can be responsible for their actions qua persons, but that group-persons might nonetheless not have rights equivalent to those of human persons. I present an argument which makes sense of this disanalogy, without recourse to normative claims or additional ontological commitments. I instead ground rights in (...)
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  14. Methodological Individualism, the We-Mode, and Team Reasoning.Kirk Ludwig - 2017 - In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Social Ontology and Collective Intentionality: Critical Essays on the Philosophy of Raimo Tuomela with his Responses. Cham, Switzerlan: Springer. pp. 3-18.
    Raimo Tuomela is one of the pioneers of social action theory and has done as much as anyone over the last thirty years to advance the study of social action and collective intentionality. Social Ontology: Collective Intentionality and Group Agents (2013) presents the latest version of his theory and applications to a range of important social phenomena. The book covers so much ground, and so many important topics in detailed discussions, that it would impossible in a short space to do (...)
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  15. Mind-Dependent Kinds.Khalidi Muhammad Ali - 2016 - Journal of Social Ontology 2 (2):223-246.
    Many philosophers take mind-independence to be criterial for realism about kinds. This is problematic when it comes to psychological and social kinds, which are unavoidably mind-dependent. But reflection on the case of artificial or synthetic kinds shows that the criterion of mind-independence needs to be qualified in certain ways. However, I argue that none of the usual variants on the criterion of mind-dependence is capable of distinguishing real or natural kinds from non-real kinds. Although there is a way of modifying (...)
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  16. Collective Intentionality.Marija Jankovic & Kirk Ludwig - 2016 - In Lee McIntyre & Alex Rosenberg (eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Social Science. New York: Routledge. pp. 214-227.
    In this chapter, we focus on collective action and intention, and their relation to conventions, status functions, norms, institutions, and shared attitudes more generally. Collective action and shared intention play a foundational role in our understanding of the social. -/- The three central questions in the study of collective intentionality are: -/- (1) What is the ontology of collective intentionality? In particular, are groups per se intentional agents, as opposed to just their individual members? (2) What is the psychology of (...)
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  17. What is It Like to Be a Group Agent?Christian List - 2016 - Noûs:295-319.
    The existence of group agents is relatively widely accepted. Examples are corporations, courts, NGOs, and even entire states. But should we also accept that there is such a thing as group consciousness? I give an overview of some of the key issues in this debate and sketch a tentative argument for the view that group agents lack phenomenal consciousness. In developing my argument, I draw on integrated information theory, a much-discussed theory of consciousness. I conclude by pointing out an implication (...)
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  18. Goods and Groups: Thomistic Social Action and Metaphysics.James Dominic Rooney - 2016 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 90:287-297.
    Hans Bernhard Schmid has argued that contemporary theories of collective action and social metaphysics unnecessarily reject the concept of a “shared intentional state.” I will argue that three neo-Thomist philosophers, Jacques Maritain, Charles de Koninck, and Yves Simon, all seem to agree that the goals of certain kinds of collective agency cannot be analyzed merely in terms of intentional states of individuals. This was prompted by a controversy over the nature of the “common good,” in response to a perceived threat (...)
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  19. Simulation and the We-Mode. A Cognitive Account of Plural First Persons.Matteo Bianchin - 2015 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (4-5):442-461.
    In this article, I argue that a capacity for mindreading conceived along the line of simulation theory provides the cognitive basis for forming we-centric representations of actions and goals. This explains the plural first personal stance displayed by we-intentions in terms of the underlying cognitive processes performed by individual minds, while preserving the idea that they cannot be analyzed in terms of individual intentional states. The implication for social ontology is that this makes sense of the plural subjectivity of joint (...)
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  20. Book Review: Group Agency: The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents. [REVIEW]Marc Champagne - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (2):252-258.
    Treating groups as agents is not at all difficult; teenagers and social scientists do it all the time with great success. Reading Group Agency, though, makes it look like rocket science. According to List and Pettit, groups can be real, and such real groups can cause, as well as bear ethical responsibility for, events. Apparently, not just any collective qualifies as an agent, so a lot turns on how the attitudes and actions of individual members are aggregated. Although I am (...)
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  21. Three Kinds of Collective Attitudes.Christian List - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S9):1601-1622.
    This paper offers a comparison of three different kinds of collective attitudes: aggregate, common, and corporate attitudes. They differ not only in their relationship to individual attitudes—e.g., whether they are “reducible” to individual attitudes—but also in the roles they play in relation to the collectives to which they are ascribed. The failure to distinguish them can lead to confusion, in informal talk as well as in the social sciences. So, the paper’s message is an appeal for disambiguation.
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  22. The Ontology of Collective Action.Kirk Ludwig - 2014 - In Sara Chant Frank Hindriks & Gerhard Preyer (eds.), From Individual to Collective Intentionality: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    What is the ontology of collective action? I have in mind three connected questions. 1. Do the truth conditions of action sentences about groups require there to be group agents over and above individual agents? 2. Is there a difference, in this connection, between action sentences about informal groups that use plural noun phrases, such as ‘We pushed the car’ and ‘The women left the party early’, and action sentences about formal or institutional groups that use singular noun phrases, such (...)
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  23. How to Tell If a Group is an Agent.Philip Pettit - 2014 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Essays in Collective Epistemology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 97-121.
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  24. The Ontology of Group Agency.Daniele Porello, Emanuele Bottazzi & Roberta Ferrario - 2014 - In Pawel Garbacz & Oliver Kutz (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems - Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference, {FOIS} 2014, September, 22-25, 2014, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. pp. 183--196.
    We present an ontological analysis of the notion of group agency developed by Christian List and Philip Pettit. We focus on this notion as it allows us to neatly distinguish groups, organizations, corporations – to which we may ascribe agency – from mere aggregates of individuals. We develop a module for group agency within a foundational ontology and we apply it to organizations.
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  25. Indispensability, the Discursive Dilemma, and Groups with Minds of Their Own.Abraham Sesshu Roth - 2014 - In Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks & Gerhard Preyer (eds.), From Individual to Collective Intentionality. Oxford University Press. pp. 137-162.
    There is a way of talking that would appear to involve ascriptions of purpose, goal directed activity, and intentional states to groups. Cases are familiar enough: classmates intend to vacation in Switzerland, the department is searching for a metaphysician, the Democrats want to minimize losses in the upcoming elections, and the US intends to improve relations with such and such country. But is this talk to be understood just in terms of the attitudes and actions of the individuals involved? Is (...)
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  26. Love, Plural Subjects & Normative Constraint.Joseph Kisolo-Ssonko - 2012 - Phenomenology and Mind (3).
    Andrea Westlund's account of love involves lovers becoming a Plural Subject mirroring Margaret Gilbert's Plural Subject Theory. However, while for Gilbert the creation of a plural will involves individuals jointly committing to pool their wills and the plural will directly normatively constraining those individuals, Westlund, in contrast, sees the creation of a plural will as a continual process thus rejecting the possibility of such direct normative constraint. This rejection appears to be required to explain the flexibility that allows for a (...)
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  27. "We-Subjectivity": Husserl on Community and Communal Constitution.Ronald McIntyre - 2012 - In Christel Fricke & Dagfinn Føllesdal (eds.), Intersubjectivity and Objectivity in Adam Smith and Edmund Husserl. Ontos. pp. 61-92.
    I experience the world as comprising not only pluralities of individual persons but also interpersonal communal unities – groups, teams, societies, cultures, etc. The world, as experienced or "constituted", is a social world, a “spiritual” world. How are these social communities experienced as communities and distinguished from one another? What does it mean to be a “community”? And how do I constitute myself as a member of some communities but not of others? Moreover, the world of experience is not constituted (...)
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  28. Against Atomic Individualism in Plural Subject Theory.Neil W. Williams - 2012 - Phenomenology and Mind 3:65-81.
    Within much contemporary social ontology there is a particular methodology at work. This methodology takes as a starting point two or more asocial or atomic individuals. These individuals are taken to be perfectly functional agents, though outside of all social relations. Following this, combinations of these individuals are considered, to deduce what constitutes a social group. Here I will argue that theories which rely on this methodology are always circular, so long as they purport to describe the formation of all (...)
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  29. Interactive Kinds.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):335-360.
    This paper examines the phenomenon of ‘interactive kinds’ first identified by Ian Hacking. An interactive kind is one that is created or significantly modified once a concept of it has been formulated and acted upon in certain ways. Interactive kinds may also ‘loop back’ to influence our concepts and classifications. According to Hacking, interactive kinds are found exclusively in the human domain. After providing a general account of interactive kinds and outlining their philosophical significance, I argue that they are not (...)
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  30. Rationality in Collective Action.Margaret Gilbert - 2006 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):3-17.
    Collective action is interpreted as a matter of people doing something together, and it is assumed that this involves their having a collective intention to do that thing together. The account of collective intention for which the author has argued elsewhere is presented. In terms that are explained, the parties are jointly committed to intend as a body that such-and-such. Collective action problems in the sense of rational choice theory—problems such as the various forms of coordination problem and the prisoner’s (...)
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  31. Who has Got Our Group-Intentions?Ludger Jansen - 2004 - In Johann C. Marek & Maria E. Reicher (eds.), Erfahrung und Analyse. Beiträge des 27. Internationalen Wittgenstein-Sym­posiums. ILWG. pp. 151-153.
    There are group-actions, and if actions are intentional, there should also be group-intentions. Who has got these intentions? The groups? This seems to be the natural answer. But then: Groups do not have a mind or brain of there own to form any mental attitude. Different kinds of individualistic analyses of group-intentions have been suggested in the literature. On the one hand there are suggestions to reduce group intentions to a complex of different Iattitudes. John Searle, on the other hand, (...)
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  32. We-Attitudes and Social Institutions.Petri Ylikoski & Pekka Mäkelä - 2002 - In Georg Meggle (ed.), Social Facts and Collective Intentionality. Philosophische Forschung / Philosophical research. Dr. Hänsel-Hohenhausen.
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  33. An Account of Boeschian Cooperative Behaviour.Olle Blomberg - 1st ed. 2015 - In Catrin Misselhorn (ed.), Collective Agency and Cooperation in Natural and Artificial Systems. Springer Verlag.
    Philosophical accounts of joint action are often prefaced by the observation that there are two different senses in which several agents can intentionally perform an action Φ, such as go for a walk or capture the prey. The agents might intentionally Φ together, as a collective, or they might intentionally Φ in parallel, where Φ is distributively assigned to the agents, considered as a set of individuals. The accounts are supposed to characterise what is distinctive about activities in which several (...)
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  34. The Compensatory Rights of Emerging Interest Groups.Edmund F. Byrne - 1993 - Social Philosophy Today 8:397-416.
    Author argues that an emerging interest group, especially one that seeks to reverse past discrimination against its predecessors in the public arena, is entitled to enhanced consideration as a means of achieving long denied but merited rights. First this thesis is defended by identifying both practical need and theoretical support for emerging interest groups. Then these findings are applied specifically to the rights of women as an emerging interest group. (Publisher left off last word of title: 'Groups'.).
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