Proprietary Reasons and Joint Action

In A. Fiebich (ed.), Minimal Cooperation and Shared Agency (forthcoming)
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Some of the reasons one acts on in joint action are shared with fellow participants. But others are proprietary: reasons of one’s own that have no direct practical significance for other participants. The compatibility of joint action with proprietary reasons serves to distinguish the former from other forms of collective agency; moreover, it is arguably a desirable feature of joint action. Advocates of “team reasoning” link the special collective intention individual participants have when acting together with a distinctive form of practical reasoning that purports to put individuals in touch with group or collective reasons. Such views entail the surprising conclusion that one cannot engage in joint action for proprietary reasons. Suppose we understand the contrast between minimal and robust forms of joint action in terms of the extent to which participants act on proprietary reasons as opposed to shared reasons. Then, if the team reasoning view of joint intention and action is correct, it makes no sense to talk of minimal joint action. As soon as the reason for which one participates is proprietary, then one is not, on this view, genuinely engaged in joint action.
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