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Summary Intentionality is the power of the mind to be about, directed at, or to represent events, objects, properties and states of affairs.  The study of collective intentionality is the study of intentionality in the social context.  What is distinctive about the study of collective intentionality within the broader study of social interactions and structures is its focus on the conceptual and psychological features of joint or shared actions and attitudes, that is, actions and attitudes of (or apparent attributions of such to) groups or collectives, their relations to individual actions and attitudes, and their implications for the nature of social groups and their functioning.  It subsumes the study of collective action, responsibility, reasoning, thought, intention, emotion, phenomenology, decision-making, knowledge, trust, rationality, cooperation, competition, and related issues, as well as how these underpin social practices, organizations, conventions, institutions and social ontology.  Collective intentionality is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary area of research that draws on philosophy, logic, linguistics, cognitive science, sociology, computer science, psychology, economics, political science, legal theory, and cultural and evolutionary anthropology.
Key works Pioneering work by philosophers Raimo Tuomela (Tuomela & Miller 1988) and Margaret Gilbert (Gilbert 1990; Gilbert 1989) in the 1980s led to a rapid expansion of interest in joint action and intention in the 1990s, with important contributions by Michael Bratman (Bratman 1992; Bratman 1993) and John Searle (Searle 1990; Searle 1995; Searle 2009).  Tuomela, Gilbert and Searle offer non-reductive accounts of joint intention. Bratman, Miller (Miller 2001) and Ludwig (Ludwig 2007) offer reductive accounts. This has been attended by work on collective attitudes, reasoning, emotions, and so on more generally (Schmitt 2003).
Introductions Tollefsen 2004, Schweikard & Schmid 2012
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  1. M. Albert, D. Schmidtchen & S. Voigt (eds.) (forthcoming). Scientific Competition: Theory and Policy, Conferences on New Political Economy. Mohr Siebeck.
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  2. 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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  3. Sondra Bacharach & Deborah Tollefsen (2011). We Did It Again: A Reply to Livingston. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (2):225-230.
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  4. Sondra Bacharach & Deborah Tollefsen (2010). We Did It: From Mere Contributors to Coauthors. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68 (1):23-32.
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  5. Cristina Becchio & Cesare Bertone (2004). Wittgenstein Running: Neural Mechanisms of Collective Intentionality and We-Mode. Consciousness and Cognition 13 (1):123-133.
    In this paper we discuss the problem of the neural conditions of shared attitudes and intentions: which neural mechanisms underlie “we-mode” processes or serve as precursors to such processes? Neurophysiological and neuropsychological evidence suggests that in different areas of the brain neural representations are shared by several individuals. This situation, on the one hand, creates a potential problem for correct attribution. On the other hand, it may provide the conditions for shared attitudes and intentions.
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  6. Jørn Bjerre (2015). A New Foundation for the Social Sciences? Searle's Misreading of Durkheim. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (1):53-82.
    The aim of John Searle’s philosophy of society is to provide a foundation for the social sciences. Arguing that the study of social reality needs to be based on a philosophy of language, Searle claims that sociology has little to offer since no sociologist ever took language seriously. Attacking Durkheim head-on, Searle not only claims that Durkheim’s project differs from his own but also that Durkheim’s sociology has serious shortcomings. Opposing Searle, this paper argues that Durkheim’s account of social reality (...)
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  7. Olle Blomberg (2015). 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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  8. 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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  9. Alban Bouvier (2010). Passive Consensus and Active Commitment in the Sciences. Episteme 7 (3):185-197.
    Gilbert (2000) examined the issue of collective intentionality in science. Her paper consisted of a conceptual analysis of the negative role of collective belief, consensus, and joint commitment in science, with a brief discussion of a case study investigated by Thagard (1998a, 1998b). I argue that Gilbert's concepts have to be refined to be empirically more relevant. Specifically, I distinguish between different kinds of joint commitments. I base my analysis on a close examination of Thagard's example, the discovery of Helicobacter (...)
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  10. T. Boyer, C. Mayo-Wilson & M. Weisberg (eds.) (forthcoming). Scientific Collaboration and Collective Knowledge.
  11. 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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  12. D. Brooks (1987). Group Minds and Indeterminacy. South African Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):81-83.
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  13. D. H. M. Brooks (1986). Group Minds. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64 (December):456-70.
  14. 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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  15. Bruno Celano (1999). Collective Intentionality, Self-Referentiality, and False Beliefs: Some Issues Concerning Institutional Facts. Analyse and Kritik 21:237-250.
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  16. 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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  17. Sara Rachel Chant & Zachary Ernst (2007). Group Intentions as Equilibria. Philosophical Studies 133 (1):95 - 109.
    In this paper, we offer an analysis of ‘group intentions.’ On our proposal, group intentions should be understood as a state of equilibrium among the beliefs of the members of a group. Although the discussion in this paper is non-technical, the equilibrium concept is drawn from the formal theory of interactive epistemology due to Robert Aumann. The goal of this paper is to provide an analysis of group intentions that is informed by important work in economics and formal epistemology.
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  18. Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks & Gerhard Preyer (eds.) (2014). From Individual to Collective Intentionality: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Includes essays that challenge the need for a theory of collective intentionality as well as essays that extend and enrich existing theories of collective intentionality The essays concerning collective rationality (part II) break new ground in that they challenge the idea that there is a straightforward dichotomy between individual and collective level rationality Many of the things we do, we do together with other people. Think of carpooling and playing tennis. In the past two or three decades it has become (...)
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  19. Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks & Gerhard Preyer (eds.) (2014). From Individual to Collective Intentionality. Oup Usa.
    Acting together requires collective intentions. The contributions to this volume seek to critically assess or to enrich theories of collective intentionality by exploring topics such as collective belief, mutual coordination, and the explanation of group behavior.
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  20. David Copp (1980). Hobbes on Artificial Persons and Collective Actions. Philosophical Review 89 (4):579-606.
  21. John R. Danley (1980). Corporate Moral Agency. Bowling Green Studies in Applied Philosophy 2:140-149.
  22. John B. Davis (2004). Collective Intentionality, Complex Economic Behavior, and Valuation. In John Bryan Davis & Alain Marciano (eds.), The Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy. Edward Elgar Publishers. 386-402.
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  23. Matthew Dentith (2012). In Defence of Conspiracy Theories. Dissertation, University of Auckland
    The purpose of this doctoral project is to explore the epistemic issues surrounding the concept of the conspiracy theory and to advance the analysis and evaluation of the conspiracy theory as a mode of explanation. The candidate is interested in the circumstances under which inferring to the truth or likeliness of a given conspiracy theory is, or is not, warranted.
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  24. Jon Elster (1985). Rationality, Morality, and Collective Action. Ethics 96 (1):136-155.
  25. Brian Epstein (2015). The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences. Oxford.
    We live in a world of crowds and corporations, artworks and artifacts, legislatures and languages, money and markets. These are all social objects — they are made, at least in part, by people and by communities. But what exactly are these things? How are they made, and what is the role of people in making them? In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein rewrites our understanding of the nature of the social world and the foundations of the social sciences. Epstein explains (...)
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  26. Anna Estany & David Casacuberta (2012). Contributions of Socially Distributed Cognition to Social Epistemology: The Case of Testimony. Eidos 16 (16):40-68.
    El objetivo de este artículo es analizar y revisar las normas que filosóficamente asociamos al proceso de testimonio, inquiriendo hasta qué puntoson0 consistentes con los conocimientos empíricos de las ciencias cognitivas.Tradicionalmente, el problema del testimonio surgía cuando, desde una epistemología de corte individualista, se suponía, siguiendo el dictum ya marcado en la Modernidad tanto por racionalistas como por empiristas, de que el conocimiento debía ser testado personalmente. Sin embargo, disciplinas y enfoques recientes, como la Cognición Socialmente Distribuida y la Epistemología (...)
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  27. Guglielmo Feis (2012). The “Ought” Implies “Can” Principle: A Challenge to Collective Intentionality. Phenomenology and Mind 2:114-121.
    I investigate collective intentionality (CI) through the “Ought” implies “Can” (OIC) principle. My leading question is does OIC impose any further requirement on CI? In answering the challenge inside a Searlean framework, I realize that we need to clarify what CI's structure is and what kind of role the agents joining a CI-act have. In the last part of the paper, I put forward an (inverted) Hartian framework to allow the Searlean CI theory to be agent sensitive and cope with (...)
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  28. Peter A. French (ed.) (2006). Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Shared Intentions and Collective Responsibility. Wiley-Blackwell.
  29. Mattia Gallotti (2012). A Naturalistic Argument for the Irreducibility of Collective Intentionality. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (1):3-30.
    According to many philosophers and scientists, human sociality is explained by our unique capacity to “share” attitudes with others. The conditions under which mental states are shared have been widely debated in the past two decades, focusing especially on the issue of their reducibility to individual intentionality and the place of collective intentions in the natural realm. It is not clear, however, to what extent these two issues are related and what methodologies of investigation are appropriate in each case. In (...)
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  30. Mattia Gallotti & Chris Frith (2013). Social Cognition in the We-Mode. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (4):160-165.
  31. Mattia Gallotti & John Michael (eds.) (2014). Perspectives on Social Ontology and Social Cognition. Springer.
    Perspectives on Social Ontology and Social Cognition brings together contributions discussing issues arising from theoretical and empirical research on social ontology and social cognition. It is the first comprehensive interdisciplinary collection in this rapidly expanding area. The contributors draw upon their diverse backgrounds in philosophy, cognitive science, behavioral economics, sociology of science and anthropology. -/- Based largely on contributions to the first Aarhus-Paris conference held at the University of Aarhus in June 2012, the book addresses such questions as: If the (...)
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  32. Mattia Gallotti & John Michael (2014). Objects in Mind. In Mattia Gallotti & John Michael (eds.), Perspectives on Social Ontology and Social Cognition. Springer.
  33. Moira Gatens & Genevieve Lloyd (2000). Collective Imaginings. Mind 109 (436):904-907.
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  34. Gerald Gaus (2012). Constructivist and Ecological Modeling of Group Rationality. Episteme 9 (3):245-254.
    These brief remarks highlight three aspects of Christian List and Philip Pettit's Group Agency: The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents that illustrate its constructivist nature: its stress on the discursive dilemma as a primary challenge to group rationality and reasoning; its general though qualified support for premise-based decision-making as the preferred way to cope with the problems of judgment aggregation; and its account of rational agency and moral responsibility. The essay contrasts List and Pettit's constructivist analysis of group (...)
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  35. Ronald N. Giere (2004). The Problem of Agency in Scienti?C Distributed Cognitive Systems. Journal of Cognition and Culture 4 (3-4):759-774.
    From the perspective of cognitive science, it is illuminating to think of much contemporary scienti?c research as taking place in distributed cognitive systems. This is particularly true of large-scale experimental and observational systems such as the Hubble Telescope. Clark, Hutchins, Knorr-Cetina, and Latour insist or imply such a move requires expanding our notions of knowledge, mind, and even consciousness. Whether this is correct seems to me not a straightforward factual question. Rather, the issue seems to be how best to develop (...)
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  36. M. Gilbert (2002). Belief and Acceptance as Features of Groups. Protosociology 16:35-69.
    In everyday discourse groups or collectives are often said to believe this or that. The author has previously developed an account of the phenomenon to which such collective belief statements refer. According to this account, in terms that are explained, a group believes that p if its members are jointly committed to believe that p as a body. Those who fulfill these conditions are referred to here as collectively believing* that p. Some philosophers – here labeled rejectionists – have argued (...)
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  37. Margaret Gilbert (2013). Joint Commitment: How We Make the Social World. Oup Usa.
    This new essay collection by distinguished philosopher Margaret Gilbert provides a richly textured argument for the importance of joint commitment in our personal and public lives. Topics covered by this diverse range of essays range from marital love to patriotism, from promissory obligation to the unity of the European Union.
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  38. Margaret Gilbert (2006). Who's to Blame? Collective Moral Responsibility and its Implications for Group Members. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 30 (1):94–114.
  39. Margaret Gilbert (2002). Considerations on Joint Commitment: Responses to Various Comments. In Georg Meggle (ed.), Social Facts & Collective Intentionality. Dr. Hänsel-Hohenhausen Ag. 1--73.
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  40. Margaret Gilbert (1997). Group Wrongs and Guilt Feelings. Journal of Ethics 1 (1):65-84.
    Can it ever be appropriate to feel guilt just because one's group has acted badly? Some say no, citing supposed features of guilt feelings as such. If one understands group action according to my plural subject account of groups, however, one can argue for the appropriateness of feeling guilt just because one's group has acted badly - a feeling that often occurs. In so arguing I sketch a plural subject account of groups, group intentions and group actions: for a group (...)
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  41. Margaret Gilbert (1989). On Social Facts. Routledge.
    This book offers original accounts of a number of central social phenomena, many of which have received little if any prior philosophical attention. These phenomena include social groups, group languages, acting together, collective belief, mutual recognition, and social convention. In the course of developing her analyses Gilbert discusses the work of Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Max Weber, David Lewis, among others.
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  42. Margaret P. Gilbert, Acting Together, Joint Commitment, and Obligation.
    What is it to do something with another person? In the author's book On Social Facts and elsewhere, she has conjectured that a special type of commitment - joint commitment - lies at the root of acting together and many other central social phenomena. Here she surveys some data pertinent to this conjecture, including the assumption of those who act together that they have associated rights against and obligations towards each other. She explains what joint commitment is, how it relates (...)
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  43. Natalie Gold (2012). Team Reasoning and Cooperation. In Samir Okasha & Ken Binmore (eds.), Evolution and Rationality: Decisions, Cooperation and Strategic Behaviour. Cambridge University Press.
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  44. Brian Gordon & Georg Theiner (forthcoming). Scaffolded Joint Action as a Micro–Foundation of Organizational Learning. In Charles B. Stone & Lucas Bietti (eds.), Contextualizing Human Memory: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding How Individuals and Groups Remember the Past. Psychology Press.
    Organizational learning, at the broadest levels, as it has come to be understood within the organization theory and management literatures, concerns the experientially driven changes in knowledge processes, structures, and resources that enable organizations to perform skillfully in their task environments (Argote and Miron–Spektor, 2011). In this chapter, we examine routines and capabilities as an important micro–foundation for organizational learning. Adopting a micro–foundational approach in line with Barney and Felin (2013), we propose a new model for explaining how routines and (...)
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  45. Todd M. Gureckis & Robert L. Goldstone (2006). Thinking in Groups. Pragmatics and Cognition 14 (2):293-311.
    Is cognition an exclusive property of the individual or can groups have a mind of their own? We explore this question from the perspective of complex adaptive systems. One of the principal insights from this line of work is that rules that govern behavior at one level of analysis can cause qualitatively different behavior at higher levels . We review a number of behavioral studies from our lab that demonstrate how groups of people interacting in real-time can self-organize into adaptive, (...)
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  46. Sean Hagberg (1997). Edwin Hutchins, Cognition in the Wild. Minds and Machines 7 (3):456-460.
  47. Stevan Harnad (2005). Distributed Processes, Distributed Cognizers and Collaborative Cognition. [Journal (Paginated)] (in Press) 13 (3):01-514.
    Cognition is thinking; it feels like something to think, and only those who can feel can think. There are also things that thinkers can do. We know neither how thinkers can think nor how they are able do what they can do. We are waiting for cognitive science to discover how. Cognitive science does this by testing hypotheses about what processes can generate what doing (“know-how”) This is called the Turing Test. It cannot test whether a process can generate feeling, (...)
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  48. Joseph Heath (2003). Christopher McMahon, Collective Rationality and Collective Reasoning Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 23 (1):53-56.
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  49. Jennifer Hornsby (1997). Collectives and Intentionality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (2):429-434.
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  50. Bryce Huebner (2014). Macrocognition: A Theory of Distributed Minds and Collective Intentionality. OUP USA.
    This book develops a novel approach to distributed cognition and collective intentionality. It is argued that collective mentality should be only be posited where specialized subroutines are integrated in a way that yields skillful, goal-directed behavior that is sensitive to concerns that are relevant to a group as such.
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