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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. 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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  2. 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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  3. Chrisoula Andreou (2006). Environmental Damage and the Puzzle of the Self-Torturer. Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (1):95–108.
  4. 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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  5. Susan J. Armstrong (1991). Individuality and Cooperative Action. Process Studies 20 (4):248-252.
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  6. Richard J. Arneson (1984). Book Review:Collective Action. Russell Hardin. [REVIEW] Ethics 94 (2):336-.
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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. Christopher Bennett (2003). Is Amnesty a Collective Act of Forgiveness? Contemporary Political Theory 2 (1):67.
  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. Norman E. Bowie & R. Edward Freeman (eds.) (1992). Ethics and Agency Theory: An Introduction. Oxford University Press.
    Agency theory involves what is known as the principal-agent problem, a topic widely discussed in economics, management, and business ethics today. It is a characteristic of nearly all modern business firms that the principals (the owners and shareholders) are not the same people as the agents (the managers who run the firms for the principals). This creates situations in which the goals of the principals may not be the same as the agents--the principals will want growth in profits and stock (...)
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  13. Bernard Boxill (1993). Book Review:Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement. Dennis Chong. [REVIEW] Ethics 103 (3):602-.
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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. Michael E. Bratman (1992). Shared Cooperative Activity. Philosophical Review 101 (2):327-341.
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  17. Stephen Andrew Butterfill (2012). Joint Action and Development. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (246):23-47.
    Given the premise that joint action plays some role in explaining how humans come to understand minds, what could joint action be? Not what a leading account, Michael Bratman's, says it is. For on that account engaging in joint action involves sharing intentions and sharing intentions requires much of the understanding of minds whose development is supposed to be explained by appeal to joint action. This paper therefore offers an account of a different kind of joint action, an account compatible (...)
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  18. John Campbell (forthcoming). An Object-Dependent Perspective on Joint Attention. In Axel Seemann (ed.), Joint Attention: New Developments in Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience. The MIT Press.
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  19. Thomas L. Carson (1994). Corporate Moral Agency: A Case From Literature. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 13 (2):155 - 156.
    I analyze a well-known and moving passage from John Steinbeck''s novelThe Grapes of Wrath. This passage provides an excellent illustration of one of the central questions about corporate moral agency: Is corporate moral agency anything over and above the agency of individual human beings? The passage in question is a debate about whether or not the actions of a particular company are anything over and above the actions of individual human beings.
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  20. John H. Chandler (1973). Act-Utilitarianism and Collective Action. Ethics 84 (1):78-85.
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  21. Sara Rachel Chant (2007). Unintentional Collective Action. Philosophical Explorations 10 (3):245 – 256.
    In this paper, I examine the manner in which analyses of the action of single agents have been pressed into service for constructing accounts of collective action. Specifically, I argue that the best analogy to collective action is a class of individual action that Carl Ginet has called 'aggregate action.' Furthermore, once we use aggregate action as a model of collective action, then we see that existing accounts of collective action have failed to accommodate an important class of (what I (...)
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  22. Sara Rachel Chant (2006). The Special Composition Question in Action. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (4):422–441.
    Just as we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of objects composes a single object, we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of actions composes a single action. In the material objects literature, this question is known as the "special composition question," and I take it that there is a similar question to be asked of collections of actions. I will call that question the "special composition question in action," and argue that the correct (...)
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  23. Sara Rachel Chant & Zachary Ernst (2008). Epistemic Conditions for Collective Action. Mind 117 (467):549-573.
    Writers on collective action are in broad agreement that in order for a group of agents to form a collective intention, the members of that group must have beliefs about the beliefs of the other members. But in spite of the fact that this so-called "interactive knowledge" is central to virtually every account of collective intention, writers on this subject have not offered a detailed account of the nature of interactive knowledge. In this paper, we argue that such an account (...)
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  24. Joan Cocks (2004). Collectivities and Cruelty. Political Theory 32 (3):419-426.
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  25. Michael Cole & Natalia Gajdamashko (2009). The Concept of Development in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory : Vertical and Horizontal. In Annalisa Sannino, Harry Daniels & Kris D. Gutierrez (eds.), Learning and Expanding with Activity Theory. Cambridge University Press. 129--143.
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  26. Bernard Dasaratha Rama, Silvia Salas J. Milano & Che-Hung Liu (forthcoming). Csr Implementation: Developing the Capacity for Collective Action. Journal of Business Ethics.
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  27. Jelle de Boer (2008). Collective Intention, Social Identity, and Rational Choice. Journal of Economic Methodology 15 (2):169-184.
    In this paper I propose that what social psychologists refer to as social identity is a plausible empirical correlate on the part of the individual to what some philosophers and economists call collective intention. A discussion of an experiment yields the question what kind of mental state social identity might be and how it is related to the standard desire/belief conception. It is argued that social identity involves both a desire and a belief, and that one distinguishing feature of it (...)
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  28. Boudewijn de Bruin (2009). We and the Plural Subject. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (2):235-259.
    Margaret Gilbert's plural subject theory defines social collectives in terms of common knowledge of expressed willingness to participate in some joint action. The author critically examines Gilbert's application of this theory to linguistic phenomena involving "we," arguing that recent work in linguistics provides the tools to develop a superior account. The author indicates that, apart from its own relevance, one should care about this critique because Gilbert's claims about the first person plural pronoun play a role in the argument in (...)
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  29. Maksymilian Del Mar (2011). Concerted Practices and the Presence of Obligations: Joint Action in Competition Law and Social Philosophy. [REVIEW] Law and Philosophy 30 (1):105-140.
    This paper considers whether, and if so how, the modelling of joint action in social philosophy – principally in the work of Margaret Gilbert and Michael Bratman – might assist in understanding and applying the concept of concerted practices in European competition law. More specifically, the paper focuses on a well-known difficulty in the application of that concept, namely, distinguishing between concerted practice and rational or intelligent adaptation in oligopolistic markets. The paper argues that although Bratman’s model of joint action (...)
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  30. Anne Edwards (2009). From the Systemic to the Relational : Relational Agency and Activity Theory. In Annalisa Sannino, Harry Daniels & Kris D. Gutierrez (eds.), Learning and Expanding with Activity Theory. Cambridge University Press. 197--211.
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  31. Jon Elster (1985). Rationality, Morality, and Collective Action. Ethics 96 (1):136-155.
  32. Ritva Engeström (2009). Who is Acting in an Activity System? In Annalisa Sannino, Harry Daniels & Kris D. Gutierrez (eds.), Learning and Expanding with Activity Theory. Cambridge University Press. 257.
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  33. Zachary Ernst & Sara Rachel Chant (2007). Collective Action as Individual Choice. Studia Logica 86 (3):415 - 434.
    We argue that conceptual analyses of collective action should be informed by game-theoretic analyses of collective action. In particular, we argue that Ariel Rubenstein’s so-called ‘Electronic Mail Game’ provides a useful model of collective action, and of the formation of collective intentions.
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  34. Ioannis D. Evrigenis (2008). Fear of Enemies and Collective Action. Cambridge University Press.
    This book explores the way in which the fear of enemies shapes political groups at their founding and helps to preserve them by consolidating them in times of crisis. It develops a theory of “negative association” that examines the dynamics captured by the maxim “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” and then traces its role in the history of political thought, demonstrating that the fear of external threats is an essential element of the formation and preservation of political (...)
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  35. Maria Isabel Aldinhas Ferreira & Miguel Gama Caldas (2013). The Concept of Umwelt Overlap and its Application to Cooperative Action in Multi-Agent Systems. Biosemiotics 6 (3):497-514.
    The present paper stems from the biosemiotic modelling of individual artificial cognition proposed by Ferreira and Caldas (2012) but goes further by introducing the concept of Umwelt Overlap. The introduction of this concept is of fundamental importance making the present model closer to natural cognition. In fact cognition can only be viewed as a purely individual phenomenon for analytical purposes. In nature it always involves the crisscrossing of the spheres of action of those sharing the same environmental bubble. Plus, the (...)
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  36. Anika Fiebich & Shaun Gallagher (2012). Joint Attention in Joint Action. Philosophical Psychology 26 (4):571-87.
    In this paper, we investigate the role of intention and joint attention in joint actions. Depending on the shared intentions the agents have, we distinguish between joint path-goal actions and joint final-goal actions. We propose an instrumental account of basic joint action analogous to a concept of basic action and argue that intentional joint attention is a basic joint action. Furthermore, we discuss the functional role of intentional joint attention for successful cooperation in complex joint actions. Anika Fiebich is PhD (...)
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  37. Heimir Geirsson (2004). Contra Collective Epistemic Agency. Southwest Philosophy Review 20 (2):163-166.
    In a couple of recent papers Deborah Tollefsen has argued that groups should be viewed as having some of the intentional and epistemic properties as do individuals. In “Organizations as True Believers” she argues that corporations really do have intentional states.1 In “Collective Epistemic Agency”2 she continues her development of group agency and she now argues that collectives can be genuine knowers. The target of her arguments is, naturally, the wide spread view that “knowers are individuals, and knowledge is generated (...)
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  38. Margaret Gilbert (1989). On Social Facts. Routledge.
    In her analyses Gilbert discusses the work of such thinkers as Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Max Weber, and David Lewis.
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  39. Margaret P. Gilbert (2006). Rationality in Collective Action. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):3-17.
    Collective action is interpreted as a matter of people doing something together, and it is assumed that this involves their having a collective intention to do that thing together. The account of collective intention for which the author has argued elsewhere is presented. In terms that are explained, the parties are jointly committed to intend as a body that such-and-such. Collective action problems in the sense of rational choice theory—problems such as the various forms of coordination problem and the (...)
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  40. John Martin Gillroy (1992). Public Policy and Environmental Risk: Political Theory, Human Agency, and the Imprisoned Rider. Environmental Ethics 14 (3):217-237.
    In this essay, I argue that environmental risk is a strategic situation that places the individual citizen in the position of an imprisoned rider who is being exploited without his or her knowledge by the preferences of others. I contend that what is at stake in policy decisions regarding environmental risk is not numerical probabilities or consistent, complete, transitive preferences for individual welfare, but rather respect for the human agency of the individual. Human agency is a prerequisite to one’s utility (...)
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  41. Marion Godman (2013). Why We Do Things Together: The Social Motivation for Joint Action. Philosophical Psychology 26 (4):588-603.
    Joint action is a growing field of research, spanning across the cognitive, behavioral, and brain sciences as well as receiving considerable attention amongst philosophers. I argue that there has been a significant oversight within this field concerning the possibility that many joint actions are driven, at least in part, by agents' social motivations rather than merely by their shared intentions. Social motivations are not directly related to the (joint) target goal of the action. Instead, when agents are mutually socially motivated (...)
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  42. Esther González-Martínez (2005). Forms of Collective Action. [REVIEW] Human Studies 28 (3):353 - 357.
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  43. Susan Dorr Goold (2000). Collective Action by Physicians: Beyond Strikes. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 9 (4):498-503.
    usually brings to mind images of picket signs held by laborers striking for better wages and benefits. Collective action, however, need not be limited to the withholding of labor. Nor need it involve only the working or middle classes, as airline pilots have recently demonstrated. Finally, collective action need not have as its only purpose the self-interest of the group. Collective action does, however, always involve a joining together of individuals united by common goals or interests in order to consolidate (...)
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  44. Guido Governatori & Antonino Rotolo (2008). A Computational Framework for Institutional Agency. Artificial Intelligence and Law 16 (1):25-52.
    This paper provides a computational framework, based on defeasible logic, to capture some aspects of institutional agency. Our background is Kanger-Lindahl-Pörn account of organised interaction, which describes this interaction within a multi-modal logical setting. This work focuses in particular on the notions of counts-as link and on those of attempt and of personal and direct action to realise states of affairs. We show how standard defeasible logic (DL) can be extended to represent these concepts: the resulting system preserves some basic (...)
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  45. Abram L. Harris (1951). Book Review:The Economics of Collective Action. John R. Commons. [REVIEW] Ethics 62 (1):61-.
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  46. Bennett W. Helm (2008). Plural Agents. Noûs 42 (1):17–49.
    Genuine agents are able to engage in activity because they find it worth pursuing—because they care about it. In this respect, they differ from what might be called “mere intentional systems”: systems like chess-playing computers that exhibit merely goal-directed behavior mediated by instrumental rationality, without caring. A parallel distinction can be made in the domain of social activity: plural agents must be distinguished from plural intentional systems in that plural agents have cares and engage in activity because of those cares. (...)
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  47. Boris Hennig (2006). Social Facts Explained and Presupposed. In Nikos Psarros & Katinka Schulte-Ostermann (eds.), Facets of Sociality. Ontos Verlag.
    Attempts are often made to explain collective action in terms of the interaction of individuals. A common objection to such attempts is that they are circular: Since every interaction presupposes the existence of common practices and common practices involve collective action, no analysis of collective agency in terms of interaction can reduce collectivity away. In this essay I will argue that this does not constitute a real circularity. It is true that common practices are presupposed in every attempt to explain (...)
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  48. Mark Heuer (2009). Traversing the Commons to Climb the Mountain. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 20:160-170.
    This paper explores the theoretical underpinnings of collaboration and ecosystem management in order to identify the relationships and processes involved in implementing ecosystem management programs through cross-sector collaboration. Ecosystem management requires a highly adaptive and resilient social-ecological governance approach, which addresses spatiality and temporality issues. In order to explore possible implementation issues with ecosystem management, propositions are developed dealing with institutional isomorphism and collective action. The paper concludes with a discussion of the theoretic underpinnings involved in implementing ecosystem management through (...)
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  49. Louis-Philippe Hodgson (2011). Collective Action and Contract Rights. Legal Theory 17 (3):209-26.
    The possibility of collective action is essential to human freedom. Yet, as Rousseau famously argued, individuals acting together allow themselves to depend on one another’s choices and thereby jeopardize one another’s freedom. These two facts jointly constitute what I call the normative problem of collective action. I argue that solving this problem is harder than it looks. It cannot be done merely in terms of moral obligations; indeed, it ultimately requires putting in place a full-fledged system of contract rights. The (...)
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  50. Martin Hollis (1977). Models of Man: Philosophical Thoughts on Social Action. Cambridge University Press.
    All social theorists and philosophers who seek to explain human action have a 'model of man', a metaphysical view of human nature. Some make man a plastic creature of nature and nurture, some present him as the autonomous creator of his social world, some offer a compromise. Each view needs its own theory of scientific knowledge calling for philosophic appraisal and the compromise sets harder puzzles than either. Passive accounts of man, for example, have a robust notion of causal explanation (...)
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