About this topic
Summary Collective Action covers the examination of intentionality and agency in a social context. In particular the investigation of what it means to act together.
Key works Key works in this area include Bratman 2009 and Gilbert 1990
Introductions Roth 2011
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  1. Sean Aas (2015). Distributing Collective Obligation. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (3).
    In this paper I develop an account of member obligation: the obligations that fall on the members of an obligated collective in virtue of that collective obligation. I use this account to argue that unorganized collections of individuals can constitute obligated agents. I argue first that, to know when a collective obligation entails obligations on that collective’s members, we have to know not just what it would take for each member to do their part in satisfying the collective obligation, but (...)
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  2. Dominic Abrams, Milica Vasiljevic & Hazel M. Wardrop (2012). Prejudice Reduction, Collective Action, and Then What? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (6):425-426.
    Despite downsides, it must, on balance, be good to reduce prejudice. Despite upsides, collective action can also have destructive outcomes. Improving intergroup relations requires multiple levels of analysis involving a broader approach to prejudice reduction, awareness of potential conflict escalation, development of intergroup understanding, and promotion of a wider human rights perspective.
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  3. Laurie E. Adkin (1998). Elements of a Strategy of Collective Action. In Roger Keil (ed.), Political Ecology: Global and Local. Routledge 285.
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  4. Thomas Ågotnes (2006). Action and Knowledge in Alternating-Time Temporal Logic. Synthese 149 (2):375 - 407.
    Alternating-time temporal logic (ATL) is a branching time temporal logic in which statements about what coalitions of agents can achieve by strategic cooperation can be expressed. Alternating-time temporal epistemic logic (ATEL) extends ATL by adding knowledge modalities, with the usual possible worlds interpretation. This paper investigates how properties of agents’ actions can be expressed in ATL in general, and how properties of the interaction between action and knowledge can be expressed in ATEL in particular. One commonly discussed property is that (...)
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  5. Roberto G. Aldunate, Feniosky Pena‐Mora & Gene E. Robinson (2005). Collaborative Distributed Decision Making for Large Scale Disaster Relief Operations: Drawing Analogies From Robust Natural Systems. Complexity 11 (2):28-38.
  6. S. Alexander (1913). Collective Willing and Truth. Mind 22 (85):14-47.
  7. Nicholas Almendares & Dimitri Landa (2016). Mixed Motives in the Equilibrium View of Joint Intention. Philosophical Studies 173 (3):733-755.
    We develop a theory of joint intention in contexts in which participants have mixed motives that can manifest in all-things-considered reasons to deviate from contributing to the desired project, e.g., contexts with collective action problems. Our theory is based on strategic equilibrium-based reasoning, which links the characterization of joint intention in terms of individual intentions with conditions on strategy profiles of the underlying strategic games. We use elements of equilibrium reasoning to construct a counterfactual account of joint intention in the (...)
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  8. James E. Alt & Michael Gilligan (1994). The Political Economy of Trading States: Factor Specificity, Collective Action Problems and Domestic Political Institutions. Journal of Political Philosophy 2 (2):165–192.
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  9. Chrisoula Andreou (2006). Environmental Damage and the Puzzle of the Self-Torturer. Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (1):95–108.
    I show, building on Warren Quinn's puzzle of the self-torturer, that destructive conduct with respect to the environment can flourish even in the absence of interpersonal conflicts. As Quinn's puzzle makes apparent, in cases where individually negligible effects are involved, an agent, whether it be an individual or a unified collective, can be led down a course of destruction simply as a result of following its informed and perfectly understandable but intransitive preferences. This is relevant with respect to environmental ethics, (...)
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  10. Vuko Andrić (2014). Can Groups Be Autonomous Rational Agents? A Challenge to the List-Pettit Theory. In Anita Konzelmann Ziv & Hans Bernhard Schmid (eds.), Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents - Contributions to Social Ontology. Springer 343-353.
    Christian List and Philip Pettit argue that some groups qualify as rational agents over and above their members. Examples include churches, commercial corporations, and political parties. According to the theory developed by List and Pettit, these groups qualify as agents because they have beliefs and desires and the capacity to process them and to act on their basis. Moreover, the alleged group agents are said to be rational to a high degree and even to be fit to be held morally (...)
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  11. Leo Apostel (1978). The Elementary Theory of Collective Action. Philosophica 21:129-157.
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  12. Susan J. Armstrong (1991). Individuality and Cooperative Action. Process Studies 20 (4):248-252.
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  13. Richard J. Arneson (1984). Book Review:Collective Action. Russell Hardin. [REVIEW] Ethics 94 (2):336-.
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  14. Denis G. Arnold (2006). Corporate Moral Agency. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 30 (1):279–291.
    "The main conclusion of this essay is that it is plausible to conclude that corporations are capable of exhibiting intentionality, and as a result that they may be properly understood as moral agents" (p. 281).
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  15. V. P. J. Arponen (2013). The Human Collective Causing of Environmental Problems and Theory of Collective Action. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (1):47-65.
    A range of multidisciplinarily arguments and observations can and have been employed to challenge the view that the human relationship to nature is fundamentally a cognitive matter of collectively held cultural ideas and values about nature. At the same time, the very similar cognitivist idea of collective sharing of conceptual schemes, normative orientations, and the like as the engine of collective action remains the chief analytic tool offered by many influential philosophical and sociological theories of collective action and human sociality (...)
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  16. V. P. J. Arponen (2013). The Human Collective Causing of Environmental Problems and Theory of Collective Action. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (1):47-65.
    A range of multidisciplinarily arguments and observations can and have been employed to challenge the view that the human relationship to nature is fundamentally a cognitive matter of collectively held cultural ideas and values about nature. At the same time, the very similar cognitivist idea of collective sharing of conceptual schemes, normative orientations, and the like as the engine of collective action remains the chief analytic tool offered by many influential philosophical and sociological theories of collective action and human sociality (...)
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  17. Caroline T. Arruda (2016). Review Essay: Chant, Sara Rachel, Frank Hindriks and Gerhard Preyer, Editors. From Individual to Collective Intentionality: New Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. 240. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 46 (3):318–331.
    I summarize and evaluate the aims of the collection From Individual to Collective Intentionality: New Essays edited by Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks and Gerhard Preyer in the context of the on-going debate about collective intentionality and group agency. I then consider the individual essays contained therein, both from the perspective of how they advance the collection’s goals and the coherence of their individual arguments.
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  18. Caroline T. Arruda (2015). Shared Intention and Reasons for Action. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (6):596-623.
    Most theories of intentional action agree that if acting for a reason is a necessary condition for the action in question to be an intentional action, the reason need not genuinely justify it. The same should hold for shared intentional action, toward which philosophers of action have recently turned their attention. I argue that some of the necessary conditions proposed for shared intention turn out to require that we deny this claim. They entail that shared intention is possible only if (...)
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  19. Ulrich Baltzer (2003). Social Action In Large Groups. Protosociology 18.
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  20. Ulrich Baltzer (2002). Joint Action of Large Groups. In Georg Meggle (ed.), Social Facts & Collective Intentionality. Dr. Hänsel-Hohenhausen Ag
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  21. Nicholas Bardsley (2007). On Collective Intentions: Collective Action in Economics and Philosophy. [REVIEW] Synthese 157 (2):141 - 159.
    Philosophers and economists write about collective action from distinct but related points of view. This paper aims to bridge these perspectives. Economists have been concerned with rationality in a strategic context. There, problems posed by “coordination games” seem to point to a form of rational action, “team thinking,” which is not individualistic. Philosophers’ analyses of collective intention, however, sometimes reduce collective action to a set of individually instrumental actions. They do not, therefore, capture the first person plural perspective characteristic of (...)
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  22. Barry Barnes (2001). Practice as Collective Action. In Theodore R. Schatzki, K. Knorr-Cetina & Eike von Savigny (eds.), The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. Routledge 17--28.
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  23. Antonio Benítez López (1983). El concepto de acción social según Ortega (Crítica de la fundamentación weberiana de la sociología) / The Concept of Social Action according to Ortega (Critique of the Weberian Foundation of Sociology). Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 13 (3-4):505-522.
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  24. Christopher Bennett (2003). Is Amnesty a Collective Act of Forgiveness? Contemporary Political Theory 2 (1):67.
    Amnesty in the context of national reconciliation involves waiving or cancelling the punishment of convicted or suspected criminals in the name of peace. We can distinguish three positions: amnesty is wrong because it is unjust; amnesty is unjust, but necessary; and amnesty is just because it expresses forgiveness. The third position sounds promising. However, it assumes that when we forgive, we can justifiably waive or cancel the need for punishment. I argue that only punishment that expresses repentance and atonement brings (...)
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  25. Terry L. Besser & Nancy J. Miller (2011). The Company They Keep. Business Ethics Quarterly 21 (3):503-525.
    Business networks, which include joint ventures, supply chains, industry and trade associations, industrial districts, and community business associations, are considered the signature organizational form of the global economy. However, little is known about how they affect the social performance of their members. We utilize institutional theory to develop the position that business social performance has collectivist roots that deserve at least as much scholarly attention as owner/manager characteristics and business attributes. Hypotheses are tested using multilevel analysis on data gathered from (...)
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  26. Matteo Bianchin (2015). From Joint Attention to Communicative Action Some Remarks on Critical Theory, Social Ontology and Cognitive Science. Philosophy and Social Criticism 41 (6):593-608.
    In this article I consider the relevance of Tomasello’s work on social cognition to the theory of communicative action. I argue that some revisions are needed to cope with Tomasello’s results, but they do not affect the core of the theory. Moreover, they arguably reinforce both its explanatory power and the plausibility of its normative claims. I proceed in three steps. First, I compare and contrast Tomasello’s views on the ontogeny of human social cognition with the main tenets of Habermas’ (...)
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  27. Matteo Bianchin (2015). Simulation and the We-Mode. A Cognitive Account of Plural First Persons. 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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  28. Adam Biela (1989). Agoral Gathering: A New Conception of Collective Behavior. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 19 (3):311–336.
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  29. Gunnar Björnsson (2014). Essentially Shared Obligations. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):103-120.
    This paper lists a number of puzzles for shared obligations – puzzles about the role of individual influence, individual reasons to contribute towards fulfilling the obligation, about what makes someone a member of a group sharing an obligation, and the relation between agency and obligation – and proposes to solve them based on a general analysis of obligations. On the resulting view, shared obligations do not presuppose joint agency.
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  30. Olle Blomberg (2016). Shared Intention and the Doxastic Single End Condition. Philosophical Studies 173 (2):351-372.
    What is required for several agents to intentionally \ together? I argue that each of them must believe or assume that their \-ing is a single end that each intends to contribute to. Various analogies between intentional singular action and intentional joint action show that this doxastic single end condition captures a feature at the very heart of the phenomenon of intentional joint action. For instance, just as several simple actions are only unified into a complex intentional singular activity if (...)
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  31. Olle Blomberg (2016). Common Knowledge and Reductionism About Shared Agency. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (2):315-326.
    Most reductionist accounts of intentional joint action include a condition that it must be common knowledge between participants that they have certain intentions and beliefs that cause and coordinate the joint action. However, this condition has typically simply been taken for granted rather than argued for. The condition is not necessary for ensuring that participants are jointly responsible for the action in which each participates, nor for ensuring that each treats the others as partners rather than as social tools. It (...)
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  32. Olle Blomberg (2015). Shared Agency: A Planning Theory of Acting Together By Michael Bratman. [REVIEW] Analysis 75 (2):346-348.
  33. Olle Blomberg (2014). Shared Goals and Development. Philosophical Quarterly 65 (258):94-101.
    In 'Joint Action and Development', Stephen Butterfill argues that if several agents' actions are driven by what he calls a "shared goal"—a certain pattern of goal-relations and expectations—then these actions constitute a joint action. This kind of joint action is sufficiently cognitively undemanding for children to engage in, and therefore has the potential to play a part in fostering their understanding of other minds. Part of the functional role of shared goals is to enable agents to choose means that are (...)
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  34. Olle Blomberg (2013). Joint Action Without and Beyond Planning. Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
    Leading philosophical accounts of joint activity, such as Michael Bratman’s account of ‘shared intentional activity’, take joint activity to be the outcome of two or more agents having a ‘shared intention’, where this is a certain pattern of mutually known prior intentions (plans) that are directed toward a common goal. With Bratman’s account as a foil, I address two lacunas that are relatively unexplored in the philosophical literature. The first lacuna concerns how to make sense of the apparently joint cooperative (...)
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  35. Olle Blomberg (2011). Socially Extended Intentions-in-Action. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):335-353.
    According to a widely accepted constraint on the content of intentions, here called the exclusivity constraint, one cannot intend to perform another agent’s action, even if one might be able to intend that she performs it. For example, while one can intend that one’s guest leaves before midnight, one cannot intend to perform her act of leaving. However, Deborah Tollefsen’s (2005) account of joint activity requires participants to have intentions-in-action (in John Searle’s (1983) sense) that violate this constraint. I argue (...)
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  36. Olle Blomberg (1st ed. 2015). An Account of Boeschian Cooperative Behaviour. In Catrin Misselhorn (ed.), Collective Agency and Cooperation in Natural and Artificial Systems. Springer International Publishing
    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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  37. Raymond Boudon (2007). Essais Sur la Théorie Générale de la Rationalité: Action Sociale Et Sens Commun. Presses Universitaires de France.
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  38. Raymond Boudon, Philippe Cibois & Janina Lagneau (1976). Short-Cycle Higher Education and the Pitfalls of Collective Action. Minerva 14 (1):33-60.
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  39. Pierre Bourdieu (1994). Raisons Pratiques Sur la Théorie de L'Action.
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  40. Norman E. Bowie & R. Edward Freeman (eds.) (1992). Ethics and Agency Theory: An Introduction. Oxford University Press.
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  41. Bernard Boxill (1993). Book Review:Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement. Dennis Chong. [REVIEW] Ethics 103 (3):602-.
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  42. Michael Bratman (2009). Shared Agency. In Chrysostomos Mantzavinos (ed.), Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Philosophical Theory and Scientific Practice. Cambridge University Press 41--59.
    Human beings act together in characteristic ways. Forms of shared activity matter to us a great deal, both intrinsically – think of friendship and love, singing duets, and the joys of conversation -- and instrumentally – think of how we frequently manage to work together to achieve complex goals. My focus will be on activities of small, adult groups in the absence of asymmetric authority relations within those groups. My approach begins with an underlying model of individual planning agency, and (...)
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  43. Michael Bratman (1999). I Intend That We J. In Faces of Intention: Selected Essays on Intention and Agency. Cambridge University Press 142–161.
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  44. Michael E. Bratman (2015). Shared Agency: Replies to Tenenbaum, Copp, and Schapiro. Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3409-3420.
    This is a reply to discussions by David Copp, Tamar Schapiro, and Sergio Tenenbaum of Michael E. Bratman, Shared Agency: A Planning Theory of Acting Together.
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  45. Michael E. Bratman (2014). Shared Agency: A Planning Theory of Acting Together. OUP Usa.
    Human beings act together in characteristic ways that matter to us a great deal. This book explores the conceptual, metaphysical and normative foundations of such sociality. It argues that appeal to the planning structures involved in our individual, temporally extended agency provides substantial resources for understanding these foundations of our sociality.
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  46. Michael E. Bratman (1992). Shared Cooperative Activity. Philosophical Review 101 (2):327-341.
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  47. Ingar Brinck (2014). Developing an Understanding of Social Norms and Games : Emotional Engagement, Nonverbal Agreement, and Conversation. Theory and Psychology 24 (6):737–754.
    The first part of the article examines some recent studies on the early development of social norms that examine young children’s understanding of codified rule games. It is argued that the constitutive rules than define the games cannot be identified with social norms and therefore the studies provide limited evidence about socio-normative development. The second part reviews data on children’s play in natural settings that show that children do not understand norms as codified or rules of obligation, and that the (...)
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  48. Ingar Brinck & Peter Gärdenfors (2003). Co–Operation and Communication in Apes and Humans. Mind and Language 18 (5):484–501.
    We trace the difference between the ways in which apes and humans co–operate to differences in communicative abilities, claiming that the pressure for future–directed co–operation was a major force behind the evolution of language. Competitive co–operation concerns goals that are present in the environment and have stable values. It relies on either signalling or joint attention. Future–directed co–operation concerns new goals that lack fixed values. It requires symbolic communication and context–independent representations of means and goals. We analyse these ways of (...)
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  49. Ingar Brinck, Vasudevi Reddy & Dan Zahavi (eds.) (2016). The Primacy of the We? MIT Press.
    The question of the relation between the collective and the individual has had a long but patchy history within both philosophy and psychology. In this chapter we consider some arguments that could be adopted for the primacy of the we, and examine their conceptual and empirical implications. We argue that the we needs to be seen as a developing and dynamic identity, not as something that exists fully fledged from the start. The concept of we thus needs more nuanced and (...)
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  50. Stephen Butterfill (1st ed. 2015). Planning for Collective Agency. In Catrin Misselhorn (ed.), Collective Agency and Cooperation in Natural and Artificial Systems. Springer International Publishing
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