Acting together

Collective action is a widespread social phenomenon, ranging from intricate duets to routinized, hierarchical cooperation within bureaucratic structures. Standard accounts of collective action have attempted to explain cooperation in the context of small-scale, interdependent, egalitarian activities. Because the resulting analyses focus on the intricate networks of reciprocal expectation present in these contexts, they are less useful in explaining the nature of collective action in larger or more diffuse social contexts. I argue here instead for a minimalist account of collective action, which explains collective action across a broad range of contexts by reference to individuals’ overlapping “participatory intentions,” i.e., intentions to do one’s part in a collective act. Participatory intentions are, formally, simply species of individual instrumental intentions, although their objects make irreducible reference to collective acts
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Olle Blomberg (2011). Socially Extended Intentions-in-Action. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):335-353.
Stephanie Collins (2013). Collectives' Duties and Collectivisation Duties. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):231-248.
Raimo Tuomela (2005). We-Intentions Revisited. Philosophical Studies 125 (3):327 - 369.
Brian Lawson (2013). Individual Complicity in Collective Wrongdoing. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):227-243.

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