The square of opposition (as part of a lattice) is used as a natural way to represent different and opposite ways of who makes decisions, and in what way, in/for a group or a society. Majority logic is characterized by multiple logical squares (one for each possible majority), with the “discursive dilemma” as a consequence. Three-valued logics of majority decisions with discursive dilemma undecided, of veto, consensus, and sequential voting are analyzed from the semantic point of view. For (...) instance, the paraconsistent and paracomplete logics M3, M3veto and C3 are described. The distinction of designated and non-designated values is not used, and instead, the consequence relation is defined as a preservation of the minimum truth-value of the implying set of sentences. The consequence and opposition relations of the logics described are compared, and an ordering of the logics with respect to their opposition relations is established. (shrink)
Many groups make decisions over multiple interconnected propositions. The “doctrinal paradox” or “discursive dilemma” shows that propositionwise majority voting can generate inconsistent collective sets of judgments, even when individual sets of judgments are all consistent. I develop a simple model for determining the probability of the paradox, given various assumptions about the probability distribution of individual sets of judgments, including impartial culture and impartial <span class='Hi'>anonymous</span> culture assumptions. I prove several convergence results, identifying when the probability of the (...) paradox converges to 1, and when it converges to 0, as the number of individuals increases. Drawing on the Condorcet jury theorem and work by Bovens and Rabinowicz (2001, 2003), I use the model to assess the “truth-tracking” performance of two decision procedures, the premise- and conclusion-based procedures. I compare the present results with existing results on the probability of Condorcet’s paradox. I suggest that the doctrinal paradox is likely to occur under plausible conditions. (shrink)
This paper discusses justice-constrained libertarian claims that were proposed as a way to circumvent the impossibility of the Paretian liberal. Since most of the results are negative in character, we suggest an alternative route: A requirement on the structure of individual orderings should be combined with the idea that under particular circumstances individual decisiveness should be controlled by higher-order principles.
Suppose a committee or a jury confronts a complex question, the answer to which requires attending to several sub-questions. Two different voting procedures can be used. On one, the committee members vote on each sub-question and the voting results are used as premises for the committee’s conclusion on the main issue. This premise-based procedure can be contrasted with the conclusion-based approach, which requires the members to directly vote on the conclusion, with the vote of each member being guided by her (...) views on the relevant sub-questions. The two procedures are not equivalent: There may be a majority of voters supporting each of the premises, but if these majorities do not significantly overlap, there will be a majority against the conclusion. Pettit (2001) connects the choice between the two procedures with the discussion of deliberative democracy. The problem we want to examine instead concerns the relative advantages and disadvantages of the two procedures from the epistemic point of view. Which of them is better when it comes to tracking truth? As it turns out, the answer is not univocal. On the basis of Condorcet’s jury theorem, the premise-based procedure can be shown to be superior if the objective is reach truth for the right reasons, without making any mistakes on the way. However, if the goal instead is to reach truth for whatever reasons, right or wrong, there will be cases in which using the conclusion-based procedure turns out to be more reliable, even though, for the most part, the premise-based procedure will retain its superiority. (shrink)
Much debate concerning 'precedent autonomy' - that is, the authority of former, competent selves to govern the welfare of later, non-competent selves - has assumed a radical discontinuity between selves, and has overlooked the 'bridging' role of intimate proxy decision-makers. I consider a recent proposal by Lynn et al. (1999) that presents a provocative alternative, foregrounding an imagined dialogue between the formerly competent patient and her/his trusted others. I consider what standards must be met for such dialogues to have moral (...) force, appealing to narrative and feminist ethics. I then critique the dualistic construction of selves implicit in much of the advance directive literature, noting the continuities of dependence, character, and body, as well as the social dimension of the construction of selves. (shrink)
Much debate concerning ‘precedent autonomy’ – that is, the authority of former, competent selves to govern the welfare of later, non-competent selves – has assumed a radical discontinuity between selves, and has overlooked the ‘bridging’ role of intimate proxy decision-makers. I consider a recent proposal by Lynn et al. (1999) that presents a provocative alternative, foregrounding an imagined dialogue between the formerly competent patient and her/his trusted others. I consider what standards must be met for such dialogues to have moral (...) force, appealing to narrative and feminist ethics. I then critique the dualistic construction of selves implicit in much of the advance directive literature, noting the continuities of dependence, character, and body, as well as the social dimension of the construction of selves. (shrink)
I argue that, because of scarcity, the right to life cannot imply an obligation on others to save the life of the right-holder, and that collectivising resources for health care not only ensures that resources are used inefficiently and inappropriately but also removes from people the authority to make decisions for themselves about matters of health, life and death.
The focus here is on analytical and instrumental requirements for those collective decision exercises that lend themselves to a judgment-driven resolution. These have not as yet received much concerted technical attention from either of the two main movements in the field. They remain somewhere beyond the purview of the objectively-predicated instruments that mainstream GDSS (Group Decision Support System) designs tend to favour. Yet neither are they so inherently ill-structured as the situations with which the GDNSS (Group Decision and Negotiation (...) Support System) community is concerned, these usually allowing only a subjectively-predicated, compromisive or consensus-based conclusion. If the technical requirements peculiar to judgment-driven decision exercises are to be well met, it will be through the offices of analytical instruments that can help assure the rationality of the resolutions at which they arrive. The primary purpose of these pages is to offer some suggestions about the types of analytical instruments that might serve this end. (shrink)
The combination of individual judgments on logically interconnected propositions into a collective decision on the same propositions is called judgment aggregation. Literature in social choice and political theory has claimed that judgment aggregation raises serious concerns. For example, consider a set of premises and a conclusion in which the latter is logically equivalent to the former. When majority voting is applied to some propositions (the premises) it may give a different outcome than majority voting applied to another set of (...) propositions (the conclusion). This problem is known as the doctrinal paradox. The doctrinal paradox is a serious problem since it is not clear whether a collective outcome exists in these cases, and if it does, what it is like. Moreover, the two suggested escape-routes from the paradox - the so-called premise-based procedure and the conclusion-based procedure - are not, as I will show, satisfactory methods for group decision-making. In this paper I introduce a new aggregation procedure inspired by an operator defined in artificial intelligence in order to merge knowledge bases. The result is that we do not need to worry about paradoxical outcomes, since these arise only when inconsistent collective judgments are not ruled out from the set of possible solutions. (shrink)
We propose in this paper DIAL, a framework for inter-agents dialogue, which formalize a collective decision-making process to compose divergent interests and perspectives. This framework bounds a dialectics system in which argumentative agents play and arbitrate to reach an agreement. For this purpose, we propose an argumentation-based reasoning to manage the conflicts between arguments having different strengths for different agents. Moreover, we propose a model of argumentative agents which justify the hypothesis to which they commit and take into account (...) the commitments of their interlocutors according to their reputations. In the scope of our dialectics system, a third agent is responsible of the final decision outcome which is taken by resolving the conflict between two players according to their competences and the advanced arguments. (shrink)
In a collaborative work situation at a distance, the use of avatars to represent collaborators reduces collaborative effort. Also, animated avatars can help distant users to ground their relationship and facilitate their interaction because they materialise visual clues for the distant collaborators and their current activity. To check the validity of these hypotheses we set up an experiment based on the use of a collaborative virtual environment (CVE) synchronised for collective medical decision-making. Several teams of practitioners from different disciplines (...) will be required to deal with liver tumours displayed in Argonaute 3D. In this paper, we provide some evidence from existing studies for the hypotheses and select several measures to estimate the grounding process in CVEs. Next, we briefly describe the setup used to collect observable data with Argonaute 3D and we summarise first observations acquired with practitioners. (shrink)
It has been suggested that, in addition to individual level decision-making, informed consent procedures could be used in collective decision-making too. One of the main criticisms directed at this suggestion concerns decision-making power. It is maintained that consent is a veto power concept and that, as such, it is not appropriate for collective decision-making. This paper examines this objection to collective informed consent. It argues that veto power informed consent can have some uses in the collective (...) level and that when it is not appropriate the decision power a concerned party ought to have in connection with an arrangement should be made relative to the interest she has at stake in it. It concludes that the objection examined does not undermine collective informed consent. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom holds two seemingly opposed beliefs. One is that communities are often much better than individuals at dealing with certain situations or solving certain problems. The other is that crowds are usually, and some say always, at best as intelligent as their least intelligent members and at worst even less. Consistency would seem to be easily re-established by distinguishing between advanced, sophisticated social organizations which afford the supporting communities a high level of collective performance, and primitive, mob-like structures (...) which pull the group towards the lower end of the achievement scale. But this reconciliation meets with some objections. The most familiar ones concern the mixed record of elaborate social systems, which are said to occasionally or even, according to some accounts, systematically produce wrong decisions, poor assessments, disastrous plans, counterproductive measures, etc. A more recent set of objections rests on cases where ‘crowds’, i,e, groups not organized in a sophisticated way, produce good results, in fact, results which better those of most, or even all, members of the group. Such cases are collected in James Surowiecki’s book The Wisdom of Crowds, which argues more generally in favor of an ‘order out of chaos’ view of collective thinking: whether sophisticated or simple, social organizations for the production of knowledge or problem-solving can benefit from the absence of certain individualistc constraints which are traditionally thought to foster excellence in cognitive tasks. This flavor of paradox is enhanced by Surowiecki’s choice of phrase: at the surface level, ‘wisdom of crowds’ conflicts with the well-entrenched cliché of the folly1 of crowds; but at a deeper level, Surowiecki seems to appeal to one frequent connotation of ‘wisdom’ which is precisely its paradoxical character. Whether Surowiecki actually intended to exploit this.. (shrink)
Condorcet's classic jury theorem shows that when the members of a group have noisy but independent information about what is best for the group as a whole, majority decisions tend to outperform dictatorial ones. When voting is supplemented by communication, however, the resulting interdependencies between decision-makers can strengthen or undermine this effect: they can facilitate information pooling, but also amplify errors. We consider an intriguing non-human case of independent information pooling combined with communication: the case of nest-site choice by (...) honey bee swarms. It is empirically well-documented that when there are different nest sites that vary in quality, the bees usually choose the best one. We develop a new agent-based model of the bees’ decision process and show that its remarkable reliability stems from a particular interplay of independence and interdependence between the bees. (shrink)
A Collective Identity Function (CIF) is a rule which aggregates personal opinions on whether an individual belongs to a certain identity into a social decision. A simple CIF is one which can be expressed in terms of winning coalitions. We characterize simple CIFs and explore various CIFs of the literature by exploiting their ability of being expressed in terms of winning coalitions. We also use our setting to introduce conditions that ensure the equal treatment of individuals as voters or (...) as outcomes. (shrink)
Our digital society increasingly relies in the power of others’ aggregated judgments to make decisions. Questions as diverse as which film we will watch, what scientific news we will decide to read, which path we will follow to find a place, or what political candidate we will vote for are usually associated to a rating that influences our final decisions.
The paper begins with a discussion of Philip Pettit's distinction between individualistic and collectivistic reasoning strategies. I argue that many of his examples, when correctly analysed, do not give rise to what he calls the discursive dilemma. I argue for a collectivistic strategy, which is a holistic premise-driven strategy. I will concentrate on three aspects of collective reasoning, which I call the publicity aspect, the collective acceptance aspect, and the historical constraint aspect: First, the premises of collective (...) reasoning, unlike the premises of a private individual, have to be public in some sense. Second, the group members collectively accept the public premises, and thereby commit themselves to following them in their collective practical reasoning.Third, a person need not be consistent with his earlier private judgements, he is free to change his mind, but prior collective judgements, if not collectively abandoned, constrain the member's future judgements and decisions. I conclude that collective practical reasoning can be accounted for without collectivist ontological commitments. (shrink)
The generation of value bubbles is an inherently psychological and social process, where information sharing and individual decisions can affect representations of value. Bubbles occur in many domains, from the stock market, to the runway, to the laboratories of science. Here we seek to understand how psychological and social processes lead representations (i.e., expectations) of value to become divorced from the inherent value, using asset bubbles as an example. We hypothesize that simple asset group switching rules can give rise (...) to aggregate behavior that resembles the irrational exuberance that can drive asset bubbles. Using an agent-based model we explore whether a simple switching rule can generate irrational exuberance, and systematically explore how communication between decision makers influences the speed and intensity of overvaluation. We show that rational and simple individual level rules combined with honest information sharing are sufficient to generate the collective overvaluation characteristic of irrational exuberance. Further, our results demonstrate that low fidelity in the exchange of value information leads to rapidly increasing expectations about value, even when no one is engaged in exaggerating their expectations for the assets they own. (shrink)
What is the ontology of collective action? I have in mind three connected questions. 1. Do the truth conditions of action sentences about groups require there to be group agents over and above individual agents? 2. Is there a difference, in this connection, between action sentences about informal groups that use plural noun phrases, such as ‘We pushed the car’ and ‘The women left the party early’, and action sentences about formal or institutional groups that use singular noun phrases, (...) such as ‘The United States declared war on Japan on December 8th, 1941’ and ‘The Supreme Court ruled that segregation is unconstitutional in 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education’? 3. Under what conditions does it make sense to speak of a group doing something together, and what, if anything, is a collective action? In this paper, In the following, I argue that a) understanding action sentences about groups does not commit us to the existence of group agents per se, but only to the existence of individual agents; b) there is no difference in this regard between sentences which attribute actions to informal groups on the one hand and institutional groups on the other; c) collective action can be both intentional and unintentional; d) any random group of agents each of whom does something is also a group which does something together; e) while there is a sense in which groups per se perform no primitive collective actions, and therefore no actions at all, f) there is a sensible extension of talk of actions to groups, though it should be treated strictly speaking, like talk of group agents, as a façon de parler, for g) the only agents per se are individuals and the only actions are theirs. -/- . (shrink)
I model sequential decisions over multiple interconnected propositions and investigate path-dependence in such decisions. The propositions and their interconnections are represented in propositional logic. A sequential decision process is path-dependent if its outcome depends on the order in which the propositions are considered. Assuming that earlier decisions constrain later ones, I prove three main results: First, certain rationality violations by the decision-making agent – individual or group – are necessary and sufficient for path-dependence. Second, under some conditions, (...) path-dependence is unavoidable in decisions made by groups. Third, path-dependence makes decisions vulnerable to strategic agenda setting and strategic voting. I also discuss escape-routes from path-dependence. My results are relevant to discussions on collective consistency and reason-based decisionmaking, focusing not only on outcomes, but also on underlying reasons, beliefs and constraints. (shrink)
The recent decrease in public confidence in the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine has important implications for individuals and public health. This article presents moral arguments relating to conflicts between individual autonomy and collective responsibilities in vaccination decisions with a view to informing and advising health professionals and improving the effectiveness of education policies in avoiding resurgence of endemic measles. Lower population immunity, due to falling uptake, is hastening the need for greater public awareness of the consequences for (...) the population. Vaccination refusals go hand in hand with responsibilities owed to future generations and society in not knowingly contributing to preventable harms. Issues such as parents’ rights are considered and balanced against: collective responsibilities for public health; permissibility of ‘free-riding’; conflicting duties of health professionals; and possible enforcement of vaccination. It is suggested that the arguments may form a persuasive tool for the practice of health professionals involved in informing and supporting parents’ vaccination decisions. (shrink)
The paper addresses the question, how policy decisions under uncertainty depend on the underlying welfare concept. We study three different welfare measures: The first is directly based on the ex ante (expected) utility of a representative consumer whereas the second relies on an ex ante and the third on an ex post valuation of policy changes compared to the status quo. We show that decisions based on these measures coincide if and only if risk-neutral expected utility maximization is (...) applied. Differences between the decisions are analyzed for both, risk-averse expected utility maximization and the MaxiMin criterion. For risk-averse decision makers, differences between the first and the second concept arise if the absolute risk-aversion of the decision maker is not constant in income. For risk-aversion and the MaxiMin criterion, the effort levels to provide a public good based on an optimization of ex post utility changes exceed those based on the first or second concept. Implications for environmental policy decisions based on the concepts of abatement costs and benefits from abatement are discussed. (shrink)
We study a class of representation mechanisms, based on reports made by a random subset of agents, called representatives, in a collective choice problem with quasi-linear utilities. We do not assume the existence of a common prior probability describing the distribution of preference types. In addition, there is no benevolent planner. Decisions will be carried out by an individual who cannot be assumed impartial, a self-interested executive. These assumptions impose new constraints on Mechanism Design. A robust mechanism is (...) defined as maximizing expected welfare under a vague prior probability distribution, and over a set of mechanisms which is at the same time immune from opportunistic manipulations by the executive, and compatible with truthful revelation of preferences by representatives. Robust mechanisms are characterized and their existence is shown. Sampling Groves mechanisms are shown to be robust. (shrink)
Committee decision making is examined in this study focusing on the role assigned to the committee members. In particular, we are concerned about the comparison between committee performance under specialization and non-specialization of the decision makers. Specialization (in the context of project or public policy selection) means that the decision of each committee member is based on a narrow area, which typically results in the acquirement and use of relatively high expertise in that area. When the committee members’ expertise is (...) already determined, specialization only means that the decision of each committee member is based solely on his/her relatively high expertise area. This form of specialization is potentially inferior relative to non-specialization under which the decision of each committee member is based on different areas, not just his/her relatively high expertise area. Given that the expertise of the committee members is already determined but unknown, our analysis focuses on non-specializing individuals whose decision is based on a decision rule that does not require information on the decision-making skills. Under these realistic assumptions, non-specialization is shown to be preferable over specialization, depending on the aggregation rule applied by the committee. The significance of our approach is not limited to the specific results that we obtain. Rather, it should be viewed as a first step toward a deeper examination of the role of individual decision makers in enhancing the performance of collective decision making. (shrink)
There is a collection of exogenously given socially feasible sets, and, for each one of them, each individual in a group chooses from an individually feasible set. The fact that the product of the individually feasible sets is larger than the socially feasible set notwithstanding, there arises no conflict between individual choices. Assuming that individual preferences are random, I characterize rationalizable collective choices.
This note proposes a principle of liberalism which is a simple and plausible variant of Sen's principle of ‘minimal liberalism’. The former principle is shown to be incompatible with the weak Pareto principle; and this impossibility result is not dependent on the preference-aggregating rule being restricted by any collective rationality condition.
Philosophers and economists write about collective action from distinct but related points of view. This paper aims to bridge these perspectives. Economists have been concerned with rationality in a strategic context. There, problems posed by “coordination games” seem to point to a form of rational action, “team thinking,” which is not individualistic. Philosophers’ analyses of collective intention, however, sometimes reduce collective action to a set of individually instrumental actions. They do not, therefore, capture the first person plural (...) perspective characteristic of team thinking. Other analyses, problematically, depict intentions ranging over others’ actions. I offer an analysis of collective intention which avoids these problems. A collective intention aims only at causing an individual action, but its propositional content stipulates its mirroring in other minds. (shrink)
Among other things, this paper considers what so-called collective guilt feelings amount to. If collective guilt feelings are sometimes appropriate, it must be the case that collectives can indeed be guilty. The paper begins with an account of what it is for a collective to intend to do something and to act in light of that intention. An account of collective guilt in terms of membership guilt feelings is found wanting. Finally, a "plural subject" account of (...)collective guilt feelings is articulated, such that they involve a joint commitment to feel guilt as a body. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert explores the phenomenon referred to in everyday ascriptions of beliefs to groups. She refers to this type of phenomenon as "collective belief" and calls the types of groups that are the bearers of such beliefs "plural subjects". I argue that the attitudes that groups adopt that Gilbert refers to as "collective beliefs" are not a species of belief in an important and central sense, but rather a species of acceptance. Unlike proper beliefs, a collective belief (...) is adopted by a group as a means to realizing the group's goals. Unless we recognize that this phenomenon is a species of acceptance, plural subjects will seem prone to change their "beliefs" for irrelevant reasons, and thus frequently appear to act in an irrational manner. (shrink)
This essay argues that while the notion of collective responsibiility is incoherent if it is taken to be an application of the Kantian model of moral responsibility to groups, it is coherent -- and important -- if formulated in terms of the moral reactions that we can have to groups that cause harm in the world. I formulate collective responsibility as such and in doing so refocus attention from intentionality to the production of harm.
-/- In this paper I discuss a number of different relationships between two kinds of (moral) obligation: those which have individuals as their subject, and those which have groups of individuals as their subject. I use the name collective obligations to refer to obligations of the second sort. I argue that there are collective obligations, in this sense; that such obligations can give rise to and explain obligations which fall on individuals; that because of these facts collective (...) obligations are not simply reducible to individual obligations; and that collective obligations supervene on individual obligations, without being reducible to them. The sort of supervenience I have in mind here is what is sometimes called ‘global supervenience’. In other words, there cannot be two worlds which differ in respect of the collective obligations which exist in them without also differing in respect of the individual obligations which exist in them. (shrink)
Two lines of investigation into the nature of mental content have proceeded in parallel until now. The first looks at thoughts that are attributable to collectives, such as bands' beliefs and teams' desires. So far, philosophers who have written on collective belief, collective intentionality, etc. have primarily focused on third-personal attributions of thoughts to collectives. The second looks at de se, or self-locating, thoughts, such as beliefs and desires that are essentially about oneself. So far, philosophers who have (...) written on the de se have primarily focused on de se thoughts of individuals. This paper looks at where these two lines of investigations intersect: collective de se thoughts, such as bands' and teams' beliefs and desires that are essentially about themselves. There is a surprising problem at this intersection: the most prominent framework for modeling de se thoughts, the framework of centered worlds, cannot model a special class of collective de se thoughts. A brief survey of this problem's solution space shows that collective de se thoughts pose a new challenge for modeling mental content. (shrink)
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.
The paper aims to clarify and scrutinize Searle"s somewhat puzzling statement that collective intentionality is a biologically primitive phenomenon. It is argued that the statement is not only meant to bring out that "collective intentionality" is not further analyzable in terms of individual intentionality. It also is meant to convey that we have a biologically evolved innate capacity for collective intentionality.The paper points out that Searle"s dedication to a strong notion of collective intentionality considerably delimits the (...) scope of his endeavor. Furthermore, evolutionary theory does not vindicate that an innate capacity for collective intentionality is a necessary precondition for cooperative behavior. 1. (shrink)
Some instances of right and wrongdoing appear to be of a distinctly collective kind. When, for example, one group commits genocide against another, the genocide is collective in the sense that the wrongness of genocide seems morally distinct from the aggregation of individual murders that make up the genocide. The problem, which I refer to as the problem of collective wrongs, is that it is unclear how to assign blame for distinctly collective wrongdoing to individual contributors (...) when none of those individual contributors is guilty of the wrongdoing in question. I offer Christopher Kutz’s Complicity Principle as an attractive starting point for solving the problem, and then argue that the principle ought to be expanded to include a broader and more appropriate range of cases. The view I ultimately defend is that individuals are blameworthy for collective harms insofar as they knowingly participate in those harms, and that said individuals remain blameworthy regardless of whether they succeed in making a causal contribution to those harms. (shrink)
Stephen May (2011) holds that language rights have been insufficiently recognized, or just rejected as problematic, in human rights theory and practice. Defending the “human rights approach to language rights”, he claims that language rights should be accorded the status of fundamental human rights, recognized as such by states and international organizations. This article argues that the notion of language rights is far from clear. According to May, one key reason for rejecting the claim that language rights should be considered (...) as human rights is the widespread belief that language rights are collective rights. In order to address this kind of objection, the collective character attributed to language rights must be carefully assessed, distinguishing two different views of what a collective right is. (shrink)
This article examines two empirical research traditions—experimental economics and the social identity approach in social psychology—that may be seen as attempts to falsify and verify the theory of collective intentionality, respectively. The article argues that both approaches fail to settle the issue. However, this is not necessarily due to the alleged immaturity of the social sciences but, possibly, to the philosophical nature of intentionality and intentional action. The article shows how broadly Davidsonian action theory, including Hacking’s notion of the (...) looping effect of the human sciences, can be developed into an argument for the view that there is no theory-independent true nature of intentional action. If the Davidsonian line of thought is correct, the theory of collective intentionality is, in a sense, true if we accept the theory. Key Words: collective intentionality • experimental economics • social identity theory • Donald Davidson • Ian Hacking • constructivism • action • agency • philosophy of the social sciences. (shrink)
At the intersection of social and virtue epistemology lies the important, yet so far entirely neglected, project of articulating the social dimensions of epistemic virtues. Perhaps the most obvious way in which epistemic virtues might be social is that they may be possessed by social collectives. We often speak of groups as if they could instantiate epistemic virtues. It is tempting to think of these expressions as ascribing virtues not to the groups themselves, but to their members. Adapting Margaret Gilbert's (...) arguments against individualist accounts of collective beliefs, I show that individualist accounts of group virtues are either too weak or too strong. I then formulate a non-individualist account modeled after Gilbert's influential account of collective beliefs. A crucial disanalogy between collective traits and beliefs, I argue, makes the success of this model unlikely. I conclude with some questions with which the future work on collective epistemic virtues should engage. (shrink)
According to John Searle’s well-known Is-Ought Argument, it is possible to derive an ought-statement from is-statements only. This argument concerns obligations involved in institutions such as promising, and it relies on the idea that institutions can be conceptualized in terms of constitutive rules. In this paper, I argue that the structure of this argument has never been fully appreciated. Starting from my status account of constitutive rules, I reconstruct the argument and establish that it is valid. This reconstruction reveals that (...) the soundness of the argument depends on whether collective acceptance as such can generate obligations. Margaret Gilbert has argued that it can, and thus far some of her central arguments have not been addressed. The upshot is that the Is-Ought Argument deserves to be taken seriously once again. (shrink)
This paper offers an analysis of the logical form of plural action sentences that shows that collective actions so ascribed are a matter of all members of a group contributing to bringing some event about. It then uses this as the basis for a reductive account of the content of we-intentions according to which what distinguishes we-intentions from I-intentions is that we-intentions are directed about bringing it about that members of a group act in accordance with a shared plan.
This paper defends the claim that collective responsibility can be based on group membership. It argues that collective responsibility is best understood in terms of duties to respond to the victims of collective crimes. Reasonable fear on the part of the victimized groups creates duties to respond for members of the perpetrating group. This account does a better job of capturing our intuitions about actual cases and the phenomenology of collective responsibility than other accounts currently on (...) offer. It also offers us a justification of collective responsibility judgments that is compatible with the separateness of persons. (shrink)
This paper examines four interpretations of the observation that humanitarian intervention might be used ‘selectively’ or ‘inconsistently’ in order to elucidate the normative commitments of the deliberative process in international relations. The paper argues that there are several types of concerns that are implicit in the accusation of inconsistency, and only some of them amount to objections to humanitarian intervention as a whole. The paradox of humanitarian intervention is that intervention is prohibited except where the intervention is humanitarian, yet humanitarian (...) reasons never exist in isolation, and it is nearly impossible to determine the real reason for intervention (or any other collective action) in the international arena. The problems revealed by an examination of inconsistency in the example of humanitarian intervention turn out to be general problems with applying the norms of practical reasoning to moral questions dealing with collective agents. (shrink)