David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Theory and Decision 32 (2):165-202 (1992)
1. One of the main aims of this paper is to study the possibilities for free-riding type of behavior in various kinds of many-person interaction situations. In particular it will be of interest to see what kinds of game-theoretic structures, defined in terms of the participants' outcome-preferences, can be involved in cases of free-riding. I shall also be interested in the related problem or dilemma of collective action in a somewhat broader sense. By the dilemma of collective action I mean, generally speaking, the conflict between individual and collective rationality and the conflict between corresponding actions, in the sense it has been discussed in recent literature. Typically (although not invariably) collective action problems and free-rider problems coexist. Let me start my discussion by considering what Elster (1985) has to say about the subject. First, the notion of collective action itself should be characterized. Elster defines it as follows (p. 137): "By collective action I mean the choice by all or most individuals of the course of action that, when chosen by all or most individuals, leads to the collectively best outcome." While this characterization is informative in the present context, I think that it is not appropriate as a general characterization. It may provide a sufficient condition, but it fails as a necessary condition. One reason for this is that there may not be a single collectively best outcome at all. Instead, I suggest we follow common sense and take collective action simply to be action by a collection or group of people, where these people (or at least many of them) act with the aim of achieving a common end or goal (this notion understood very broadly so as to include e.g. following norms, practices, and customs). We also require of a situation of collective action that the participants have several (or at least two) possible courses of action open to them. Elster's above definition of collective action goes in terms of the collectively best outcome or goal.
|Keywords||Collective action dilemma free-riding three-person game|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Robert Axelrod (1984). The Evolution of Cooperation. Basic Books.
Jon Elster (1985). Rationality, Morality, and Collective Action. Ethics 96 (1):136-155.
Jean Hampton (1987). Free-Rider Problems in the Production of Collective Goods. Economics and Philosophy 3 (02):245-.
Philip Pettit (1986). Free Riding and Foul Dealing. Journal of Philosophy 83 (7):361-379.
Lanning Sowden & Edna Ullmann-Margalit (1981). The Emergence of Norms. Philosophical Quarterly 31 (122):82.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Axel Seemann (2009). Why We Did It: An Anscombian Account of Collective Action. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17 (5):637-655.
Christopher Kutz (2000). Acting Together. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):1-31.
Frank Hindriks (2008). The Freedom of Collective Agents. Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):165–183.
Nicholas Bardsley (2007). On Collective Intentions: Collective Action in Economics and Philosophy. [REVIEW] Synthese 157 (2):141 - 159.
Raimo Tuomela & Kaarlo Miller (1992). We-Intentions, Free-Riding, and Being in Reserve. Erkenntnis 36 (1):25 - 52.
Lu Tang (2008). An Integral Model of Collective Action in Organizations and Beyond. Journal of Business Ethics 80 (2):249 - 261.
Margaret P. Gilbert (2006). Rationality in Collective Action. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):3-17.
Zachary Ernst & Sara Rachel Chant (2007). Collective Action as Individual Choice. Studia Logica 86 (3):415 - 434.
Boris Hennig (2006). Social Facts Explained and Presupposed. In Nikos Psarros & Katinka Schulte-Ostermann (eds.), Facets of Sociality. Ontos Verlag.
Sara Rachel Chant (2007). Unintentional Collective Action. Philosophical Explorations 10 (3):245 – 256.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads42 ( #47,540 of 1,410,123 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #57,890 of 1,410,123 )
How can I increase my downloads?