Minimal Cooperation and Group Roles

In Anika Fiebich (ed.), Minimal Cooperation and Shared Agency (2020)
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Cooperation has been analyzed primarily in the context of theories of collective intentionality. These discussions have primarily focused on interactions between pairs or small groups of agents who know one another personally. Cooperative game theory has also been used to argue for a form of cooperation in large unorganized groups. Here I consider a form of minimal cooperation that can arise among members of potentially large organized groups (e.g., corporate teams, committees, governmental bodies). I argue that members of organized groups can be minimally cooperative in virtue of playing roles in an organizational structure and having a common goal. The minimal form of cooperation I argue for is not grounded in collective intentions involving symmetric mental states, special collective intentional modes, or joint commitments. More generally, I show how considering minimal cooperation in the context of organized groups provides an opportunity to reevaluate the extent to which the social world and social phenomena depend on internalist mental factors (e.g., intentions, beliefs) and externalist non-mental factors (e.g., documents, laws, job descriptions). The view of minimal cooperation among members of organized groups I offer provides support for an externalist rather than internalist theory of at least one social phenomenon.

Author's Profile

Katherine Ritchie
University of California, Irvine


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