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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. Facundo M. Alonso (2009). Shared Intention, Reliance, and Interpersonal Obligations. Ethics 119 (3):444-475.
    Shared agency is of central importance in our lives in many ways. We enjoy engaging in certain joint activities with others. We also engage in joint activities to achieve complex goals. Current approaches propose that we understand shared agency in terms of the more basic phenomenon of shared intention. However, they have presented two antagonistic views about the nature of this phenomenon. Some have argued that shared intention should be understood as being primarily a structure of attitudes of individual participants (...)
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  3. Åsa Andersson, Power and Social Ontology.
    This work presents an account of social power based on recent advances in social ontology. It is argued that a conceptual analysis of social power can be informed by developments in social ontology, but also that this field can be enriched, and in fact requires, an analysis of this central social concept. Social power is dependent on the existence of various kinds of social phenomena, such as institutions and social structures, in order to exist. Consequently, a precise analysis of these (...)
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  4. U. L. E. Andrej (2002). Common Knowledge in Science. In Georg Meggle (ed.), Social Facts & Collective Intentionality. Dr. Hänsel-Hohenhausen Ag 1--437.
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  5. 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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  6. Caroline Arruda (forthcoming). 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:0048393116632685.
    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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  7. Caroline T. Arruda (2016). What We Can Intend: Recognition and Collective Intentionality. Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (1):5-26.
    The concept of recognition has played a role in two debates. In political philosophy, it is part of a communitarian response to liberal theories of distributive justice. It describes what it means to respect others’ right to self-determination. In ethics, Stephen Darwall argues that it comprises our judgment that we owe others moral consideration. I present a competing account of recognition on the grounds that most accounts answer the question of why others deserve recognition without answering the question of what (...)
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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. Ulrich Baltzer (2002). Joint Action of Large Groups. In Georg Meggle (ed.), Social Facts & Collective Intentionality. Dr. Hänsel-Hohenhausen Ag
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  11. N. Bardsley, Collective Reasoning: A Critique of Hollis.
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  12. Peter Baumann (2002). Epistemic Contracts. In Georg Meggle (ed.), Social Facts & Collective Intentionality. Dr. Hänsel-Hohenhausen Ag 1--19.
    The idea of a social contract has played a major role in modern political philosophy but not in modern epistemology, -- not even in more recent "social theories of knowledge". The idea of an epistemic contract, however, is very interesting and deserves more attention. In this paper, I discuss arguments to the effect that we cannot do without epistemic contracts. I come to the conclusion that these arguments are not convincing. If one wants to make use of contractarian arguments in (...)
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  13. 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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  14. Carlos Bernal (2014). Collective Intentionality and the Ontological Structure of Law. Rechtstheorie 45 (3):335-353.
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  15. 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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  16. Henk Bij de Weg, Collective Intentionality and Individual Action. My Website.
    People often do things together and form groups in order to get things done that they cannot do alone. In short they form a collectivity of some kind or a group, for short. But if we consider a group on the one hand and the persons that constitute the group on the other hand, how does it happen that these persons work together and finish a common task with a common goal? In the philosophy of action this problem is often (...)
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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. Stephan Boehm (2002). The Ramifications of John Searle's Social Philosophy in Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 9 (1):1-10.
    John Searle is well known for his contributions to the philosophy of language and to the philosophy of mind. In recent years he has extended his investigation to focus on the nature of social reality. In particular, he is intrigued by the creation of institutional facts, such as money, marriages and football matches. He postulates three primitive notions - 'collective intentionality', 'the assignment of function' and 'constitutive rules' - that are needed for the construction of institutional reality. The papers and (...)
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  24. 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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  25. T. Boyer, C. Mayo-Wilson & M. Weisberg (eds.) (forthcoming). Scientific Collaboration and Collective Knowledge.
  26. 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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  27. Ingar Brinck, Vasu Reddy & Dan Zahavi, The Primacy of the We?
    How should we conceive of the foundations of sociality? A much debated question concerns whether it is concrete interpersonal encounters or the existence of a primitive plural self, a we, which constitutes the basis for joint action and intending together. A related question concerns whether intersubjectivity or the sharing of a common world is more fundamental for making sense of the notions of joint agency and collective intentionality. In other words, to use locutions employed by classical phenomenologists, is ‘being-for-others’ or (...)
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  28. D. Brooks (1987). Group Minds and Indeterminacy. South African Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):81-83.
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  29. D. H. M. Brooks (1986). Group Minds. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64 (December):456-70.
  30. Boudewijn De Bruin (2005). Game Theory in Philosophy. Topoi 24 (2):197-208.
    Game theory is the mathematical study of strategy and conflict. It has wide applications in economics, political science, sociology, and, to some extent, in philosophy. Where rational choice theory or decision theory is concerned with individual agents facing games against nature, game theory deals with games in which all players have preference orderings over the possible outcomes of the game. This paper gives an informal introduction to the theory and a survey of applications in diverse branches of philosophy. No criticism (...)
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  31. 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
  32. 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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  33. Antonio Calcagno (2012). Gerda Walther: On the Possibility of a Passive Sense of Community and the Inner Time Consciousness of Community. Symposium 16 (2):89-105.
    If community is determined primarily in consciousness as a mental state of oneness, can community exist when there is no accompanying mental state or collective intentionality that makes us realise that we are one community? Walther would respond affirmatively, arguing that there is a deep psychological structure of habit that allows us to continue to experience ourselves as a community. The habit of community works on all levels of our person, including our bodies, psyches and spirits (Geist). It allows us (...)
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  34. Emanuele Caminada (2015). Edith Stein’s Account of Communal Mind and its Limits: A Phenomenological Reading. Human Studies 38 (4):549-566.
    Edith Stein claims that communal experiences are not reducible to the collection of individual experiences directed to the same object or upon the same content. Based on this intuition she gives a phenomenological description of the intentional structure that is proper to communal experiences regarding to their content, mode, and subject. While expanding on her attempts to reassess Husserl’s description of intentionality in an original social-ontological framework, I will stress her precious distinction between individual consciousness and communal stream of experience. (...)
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  35. Bruno Celano (1999). Collective Intentionality, Self-Referentiality, and False Beliefs: Some Issues Concerning Institutional Facts. Analyse & Kritik 21 (2):237-250.
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  36. Bruno S. Celano (1999). Collective Intentionality, Self-Referentiality, and False Beliefs: Some Issues Concerning Institutional Facts. Comment to John R. Searle "Social Ontology and the Philosophy of Society". Analyse & Kritik 21 (2):237-250.
    J. R. Searle's general theory of social and institutional reality, as deployed in some of his recent work, raises many deep and interesting problems. Four issues are taken up here: Searle's claim to the effect that collective intentionality is a primitive, irreducible form of intentionality; his account of one of the most puzzling features of institutional concepts, their having a self-referential component; the question as to the point, or points, of having institutions; Searle's claim to the effect that false beliefs (...)
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  37. Bryan Chambliss (2015). Macrocognition: A Theory of Distributed Minds and Collective Intentionality. Philosophical Psychology 29 (2):315-319.
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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. Eric Chelstrom (2012). Social Phenomenology: Husserl, Intersubjectivity and Collective Intentionality. Lexington Books.
    Social Phenomenology offers an account of collective intentionality informed by the tradition of Husserlian phenomenology.
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  43. Matteo Colombo (2015). Bryce Huebner: Macrocognition: A Theory of Distributed Minds and Collective Intentionality. Minds and Machines 25 (1):103-109.
    Bryce Huebner’s Macrocognition is a book with a double mission. The first and main mission is “to show that there are cases of collective mentality in our world” . Cases of collective mentality are cases where groups, teams, mobs, firms, colonies or some other collectivities possess cognitive capacities or mental states in the same sense that we individually do. To accomplish this mission, Huebner develops an account of macrocognition, where “the term ‘macrocognition’ is intended as shorthand for the claim that (...)
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  44. Nancy J. Cooke, Jamie C. Gorman, Christopher W. Myers & Jasmine L. Duran (2013). Interactive Team Cognition. Cognitive Science 37 (2):255-285.
    Cognition in work teams has been predominantly understood and explained in terms of shared cognition with a focus on the similarity of static knowledge structures across individual team members. Inspired by the current zeitgeist in cognitive science, as well as by empirical data and pragmatic concerns, we offer an alternative theory of team cognition. Interactive Team Cognition (ITC) theory posits that (1) team cognition is an activity, not a property or a product; (2) team cognition should be measured and studied (...)
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  45. Wesley Cooper & Augustine Frimpong-Mansoh (2005). Moral Realism, Social Construction, and Communal Ontology. South African Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):120-131.
    The paper examines two forms of naturalistic moral realism, “Micro-structure realism” and “Reason realism” . The latter, as we defend it, locates the objectivity of moral facts in socially constructed reality, but the former, as exemplified by David Brink\'s model of naturalistic moral realism, secures the objectivity of moral facts in their micro- structure and a nomic supervenience relationship. We find MSR\'s parity argument for this account of moral facts implausible; it yields a relation ship between moral facts and their (...)
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  46. Wesley Cooper & Augustine Frimpong- Mansoh (2005). Moral Realism, Social Construction, and Realism, Social Construction, and Communal Ontology. South African Journal of Philosophy 19 (2).
    The paper examines two forms of naturalistic moral realism, “Micro-structure realism” (MSR) and “Reason realism” (RR). The latter, as we defend it, locates the objectivity of moral facts in socially constructed reality, but the former, as exemplified by David Brink's model of naturalistic moral realism, secures the objectivity of moral facts in their micro- structure and a nomic supervenience relationship. We find MSR's parity argument for this account of moral facts implausible; it yields a relation ship between moral facts and (...)
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  47. David Copp (1980). Hobbes on Artificial Persons and Collective Actions. Philosophical Review 89 (4):579-606.
  48. J. Angelo Corlett & Julia Lyons Strobel (2016). Raimo Tuomela: Social Ontology: Collective Intentionality and Group Agents. Human Studies 39 (2):313-318.
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  49. Jay Angelo Corlett (1992). Moral Compatibilism: Rights, Responsibility, Punishment and Compensation. Dissertation, The University of Arizona
    The moral status of collectives is an important problem for any plausible moral, social and political philosophy. Are collectives proper subjects of moral rights and moral responsibility ascriptions? Is it morally justified for the state to punish collectives for criminal offenses, or for the state to force collectives to pay compensation for tort offenses? Moral Individualism denies that collectives are properly ascribed properties such as moral rights, moral liability, and punishability, while Moral Collectivism affirms that some collectives may be legitimately (...)
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  50. F. D'Agostino (2009). The Philosophy of Sociality: The Shared Point of View * by Raimo Tuomela. Analysis 69 (3):587-589.
    This work provides a rigorous analysis of what Tuomela calls ‘the we-perspective’. Tuomela's overarching project is to argue that ‘conceptualizing social life and theorizing about it requires the use of group concepts, indeed the we-perspective and, especially, the we-mode.’ Already some of the complexities of Tuomela's approach will be evident – viz. in the distinction, implied in the above quotation and carried through systematically throughout the work, between the ‘we-perspective’ and the ‘we-mode’. For, indeed, it is possible, on his account, (...)
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