Social intentions: Aggregate, collective, and general

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 26 (1):61-76 (1996)
Abstract
The literature on collective action largely ignores the constraints that moral principle places on action-prompting intentions. Here I suggest that neither individualism nor holism can account for the generality of intentional contents demanded by universalizability principles, respect for persons, or proactive altruism. Utilitarian and communitarian ethics are criticized for nominalism with respect to social intentions. The failure of individualism and holism as grounds for moral theory is confirmed by comparing Tuomela's reductivist analysis of we-intentions with Gilbert's analysis of social facts. Tuomela's account founders over intentions to cooperate, and Gilbert's cannot accommodate legitimate authority, vicarious agency, or group structure.
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J. K. Swindler (2008). Normativity: From Individual to Collective. Journal of Social Philosophy 39 (1):116–130.
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