Shared agency and contralateral commitments

Philosophical Review 113 (3):359-410 (2004)
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Abstract

My concern here is to motivate some theses in the philosophy of mind concerning the interpersonal character of intentions. I will do so by investigating aspects of shared agency. The main point will be that when acting together with others one must be able to act directly on the intention of another or others in a way that is relevantly similar to the manner in which an agent acts on his or her own intentions. What exactly this means will become clearer once we understand what it is to act directly on one’s own intentions. But I take it to be a fundamental assumption of the prevailing individualism of the theory of action— one at the core of its conception of the separateness of individuals— that one person cannot act directly on another’s intention. I agree that there is an important way in which we are or can be separate and autonomous thinkers and agents. But the way the individualist tries to capture this separateness is misguided.

Author's Profile

Abe (Abraham) Roth
Ohio State University

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