Why We Need a New Normativism about Collective Action

Philosophical Quarterly 72 (2):478-507 (2022)
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What do we owe each other when we act together? According to normativists about collective action, necessarily something and potentially quite a bit. They contend that collective action inherently involves a special normative status amongst participants, which may, for example, involve mutual obligations to receive the concurrence of the others before leaving. We build on recent empirical work whose results lend plausibility to a normativist account by further investigating the specific package of mutual obligations associated with collective action according to our everyday understanding. However, our results cast doubt on a proposed obligation to seek the permission of co-actors before exiting a collective action, and suggest instead that this obligation is a function of explicit promising. We then discuss how our results pave the path for a new normativism, a theory that neither under- nor overshoots the target given by our common conception of the interpersonal obligations present in collective action.*

Author Profiles

Matthew Rachar
Douglas College
Javier Gomez-Lavin
York University


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