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Profile: Margaret Gilbert (University of California, Irvine)
Profile: Margaret Gilbert (University of California, Irvine)
Profile: Margaret Patricia Gilbert (University of California, Irvine)
  1. 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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  2. Margaret P. Gilbert, Collective Remorse.
    This essay explores the nature of an important collective emotion, namely, collective remorse. Three accounts of collective remorse are presented and evaluated. The first involves an aggregate of group members remorseful over acts of their own associated with their group's act; the second an aggregate of persons remorseful over their group's act. The third account posits, in terms that are explained, a joint commitment of a group's members to constitute as far as is possible a single remorseful body. Construed according (...)
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  3. Margaret P. Gilbert, Collective Wrongdoing: Moral and Legal Responses.
    This is a review essay of Christopher Kutz's Complicity: Ethics and Law for a Collective Age, and Jonathan Bass's Stay The Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals. Topics addressed include the nature of collective intentions and actions, the possibility of collective guilt, the moral responsibility of individuals in the context of collective actions.
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  4. Margaret P. Gilbert, Gilbert Harman and Judith Jarvis Thomson's Moral Relativism and Moral Objectivity.
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  5. Margaret P. Gilbert, On Being Categorized in the Speech of Others.
    Some psychologists argue that in general we self-ascribe characteristics according to others' perceived reactions to us. In illustration michael argyle cites a case involving the self-Ascription of popularity. But popularity is what I here call a 'reaction-Determined characteristic, That is, A characteristic such that certain others' reacting to someone in a certain way is logically sufficient for his having it. The general import of cases involving such characteristics needs careful examination and I argue that in fact argyle's case does not (...)
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  6. Margaret P. Gilbert & Fred R. Berger, On an Argument for the Impossibility of Prediction in the Social Sciences.
    This paper criticises a line of argument adopted by peter winch, Karl popper, And others, To the effect that the course of human history cannot be predicted. On this view it is impossible to predict in a particularly detailed way certain events ('original acts') on which important social developments depend. We analyze the argument, Showing that one version fails: original acts are in principle predictable in the relevant way. A cogent version is presented; this requires a special definition for 'original (...)
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  7. Margaret P. Gilbert (2009). Obligation and Joint Commitment. Utilitas 11 (02):143-.
    I argue that obligations of an important type inhere in what I call 'joint commitments'. I propose a joint commitment account of everyday agreements. This could explain why some philosophers believe that we know of the obligating nature of agreements a priori. I compare and contrast obligations of joint commitment with obligations in the relatively narrow sense recommended by H. L. A. Hart, a recommendation that has been influential. Some central contexts in which Hart takes there to be obligations in (...)
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  8. Margaret P. Gilbert (2008). Social Convention Revisited. Topoi (1-2):5-16.
    This article will compare and contrast two very different accounts of convention: the game-theoretical account of Lewis in Convention, and the account initially proposed by Margaret Gilbert (the present author) in chapter six of On Social Facts, and further elaborated here. Gilbert’s account is not a variant of Lewis’s. It was arrived at in part as the result of a detailed critique of Lewis’s account in relation to a central everyday concept of a social convention. An account of convention need (...)
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  9. Margaret P. Gilbert (2006). Can a Wise Society Be a Free One? Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (S1):151-167.
    This article invokes the idea of a wise society, something that has received little attention from contemporary philosophers. It argues that, given plausible interpretations of the relevant terms, the wiser a society is, the less free it is. Even if one prefers a different account of a wise society, the argument in question is significant, for on this account a wise society possesses features that would seem to be desirable whatever their relationship to wisdom in particular: it makes many true (...)
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  10. Margaret P. Gilbert (2006). Character, Essence, Action: Considerations on Character Traits After Sartre. The Pluralist 1 (1):40 - 52.
    Two radically different, general accounts of human character traits - the "essentialist" and the "summary" accounts - are given critical consideration. The former account is characterized in terms of Saul Kripke's conception of metaphysical essence. Both accounts are discussed with reference to Jean-Paul Sartre's treatment of character traits. The essentialist account cannot withstand considerations relating to personal identity over time. The summary account is also rejected, as is a certain kind of dispositional account. An approach to at least some character (...)
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  11. Margaret P. Gilbert (2006). Rationality in Collective Action. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):3-17.
    Collective action is interpreted as a matter of people doing something together, and it is assumed that this involves their having a collective intention to do that thing together. The account of collective intention for which the author has argued elsewhere is presented. In terms that are explained, the parties are jointly committed to intend as a body that such-and-such. Collective action problems in the sense of rational choice theory—problems such as the various forms of coordination problem and the (...)
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  12. Margaret P. Gilbert (2005). Shared Values, Social Unity, and Liberty. Public Affairs Quarterly 19 (1):25-49.
    May social unity - the unity of a society or social group - be a matter of sharing values? Political philosophers disagree on this topic. Kymlicka answers: No. Devlin and Rawls answer: Yes. It is argued that given one common 'summative' account of sharing values a negative answer is correct. A positive answer is correct, however, given the plural subject account of sharing values. Given this account, those who share values are unified in a substantial way by their participation in (...)
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  13. Margaret P. Gilbert (2004). Collective Epistemology. Episteme 1 (2):95--107.
    This paper introduces the author's approach to everyday ascriptions of collective cognitive states as in such statements as we believe he is lying. Collective epistemology deals with these ascriptions attempting to understand them and the phenomena in question.
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  14. Margaret P. Gilbert (2004). Scanlon on Promissory Obligation. Journal of Philosophy 101 (2):83-109.
    This article offers a critique of Thomas Scanlon's well-known account of promissory obligation by reference to the rights of promisees. Scanlon's account invokes a moral principle, the "principle of fidelity". Now, corresponding to a promisor's obligation to perform is a promisee's right to performance. It is argued that one cannot account for this right in terms of Scanlon's principle. This is so in spite of a clause in the principle relating to the promisee's "consent", which might have been thought to (...)
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  15. Margaret P. Gilbert (2001). Collective Preferences, Obligations, and Rational Choice. Economics and Philosophy 17 (1):109-119.
    Can teams and other collectivities have preferences of their own, preferences that are not in some way reducible to the personal preferences of their members? In short, are collective preferences possible? In everyday life people speak easily of what we prefer, where what is at issue seems to be a collective preference. This is suggested by the acceptability of such remarks as ‘My ideal walk would be . . . along rougher and less well-marked paths than we prefer as a (...)
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  16. Margaret P. Gilbert (2001). Sociality, Unity, Objectivity. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 11:153-160.
    Numerous social and political theorists have referred to social groups or societies as “unities.” What makes a unity of a social group? I address this question with special reference to the theory of social groups proposed in my books On Social Facts and Living Together: Rationality, Sociality and Obligation. I argue that social groups of a central kind require an underlying “joint commitment.” I explain what I mean by a “joint commitment” with care. If joint commitments in my sense underlie (...)
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  17. Margaret P. Gilbert (1994). Remarks on Collective Belief. In Frederick F. Schmitt (ed.), Socializing Epistemology: The Social Dimensions of Knowledge. Rowman and Littlefield. 235-56.
    The author develops and elaborates on her account of collective belief, something standardly referred to, in her view, when we speak of what we believe. This paper focuses on a special response hearers may experience in the context of expressions of belief, a response that may issue in offended rebukes to the speaker. It is argued that this response would be appropriate if both speakers and hearers were parties to what the authors calls a joint commitment to believe a certain (...)
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  18. Margaret P. Gilbert (1994). Sociality as a Philosophically Significant Category. Journal of Social Philosophy 25 (3):5-25.
    Different accounts of what it is for something to have a social nature have been given. Sociality does not appear to be a category worthy of philosophical focus, given some of these accounts. If sociality is construed as plural subjecthood, it emerges as a category crucial for our understanding of the human condition. Plural subjects are constituted by a joint commitment of two or more persons to do something as a body. Such commitments generate rights and obligations of a special (...)
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  19. Margaret P. Gilbert (1990). Walking Together: A Paradigmatic Social Phenomenon. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1):1-14.
    The everyday concept of a social group is approached by examining the concept of going for a walk together, an example of doing something together, or "shared action". Two analyses requiring shared personal goals are rejected, since they fail to explain how people walking together have obligations and rights to appropriate behavior, and corresponding rights of rebuke. An alternative account is proposed: those who walk together must constitute the "plural subject" of a goal (roughly, their walking alongside each other). The (...)
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