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)
In this paper, we move beyond the typical focus on the role of individuals in leading social change to examine "collectivesocial entrepreneurship", the role multiple actors collaboratively play to address social problems, create new institutions, and dismantle outdated institutional arrangements. Specifically, we examine collectivesocial entrepreneurship across a diverse range of collaborative activities including movements, alliances and markets for social good. We identify resource utilization approaches and three associated sets of activities that (...) illustrate the work of collectivesocial entrepreneurs—framing, convening, and multivocality. Using illustrative case studies to examine the phenomenon, we highlight the capacity of collective action across sectors to create markets, institutions and organizations and, to derive success by resonating through embeddedness in broader social movements. (shrink)
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)
The notions 'worldview' and 'social identity' are examined to consider whether they contribute substantively to causal sequences or networks or thought clusters that result in group acts executed intentionally. ... Three proposed explanaitons of sectarian conflict or ethnic violence are analysed as examples of theories that causally link intenitonal group behaivour to the worldviews and social identities of the individual agents directly involved. But as will be shown, it is not a priori features of worldivews and identities as (...) such, but historically specific facts and contingent circumstances that need to be examined in order to explain group-motivated behaviour. Reference to worldviews and identities detract from adequate explanation. (shrink)
It is possible to reveal and to examine the collective and social fields of consciousness experimentally. An account is given of planned experiments based on quantitative calculations, which indicate that the effects of individual and collective fields of consciousness on matter may elicit directly observable physical results. Moreover, it is shown that collective coherent consciousness fields may enhance the physical effects of consciousness at a significant rate. The predicted results have a significance in our picture of (...) our consciousness, in self-assertion and dynamising of consciousness, the expansion of collective fields of consciousness, and thus the raising of the level of consciousness for humanity. (shrink)
This article aims to contribute to a critical ontology of social objects. Recent works on collective intentionality and norm-following neglect the question how free agents can be brought to collectively intend to x , although x is not in their own interest. By arguing for a natural disposition to empathic understanding and drawing on recent research in the neurosciences, this article outlines an ontological framework that extends collective intentionality to questions of oppression and status asymmetries. In a (...) contribution to this journal, Wisnewski (2005) unfortunately mischaracterizes the problem of meaning in social criticism. Implementing status problems in studies of collective intentions and construing social facts as both subjective and objective in character helps explain why agents can have persistent "misunderstandings" of social objects. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
The article makes four interrelated claims: (1) The mechanism approach to social explanation does not presuppose a commitment to the individual-level microfoundationalism. (2) The microfoundationalist requirement that explanatory social mechanisms should always consists of interacting individuals has given rise to problematic methodological biases in social research. (3) It is possible to specify a number of plausible candidates for social macro-mechanisms where interacting collective agents (e.g. formal organizations) form the core actors. (4) The distributed cognition perspective (...) combined with organization studies could provide us with explanatory understanding of the emergent cognitive capacities of collective agents. (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)
The paper presents an account of social institutions on the basis of collective acceptance. Basically, collective acceptance by some members of a group involves the members’ collectively coming to hold and holding a relevant social attitude (a “we-attitude”), viz. either one in the intention family of concepts or one in the belief family. In standard cases the collective acceptance must be in the “we-mode”, viz. performed as a group member, and involve that it be meant (...) for the group. The participants must be collectively committed to what they have accepted. Social institutions are taken to be norm-governed social practices introducing a new social and conceptual status on the practices or some elements involved in those practices. This requires that some of the involved norms be constitutive norms as opposed to merely “accidentally” regulating ones. A classification of social institutions is presented. The account is broader in scope than is Searle’s. (shrink)
In this paper I will discuss a certain philosophical and conceptual program -- that I have called philosophy of social action writ large -- and also show in detail how parts of the program have been, and is currently being carried out. In current philosophical research the philosophy of social action can be understood in a broad sense to encompass such central research topics as action occurring in a social context (this includes multi-agent action); shared we-attitudes (such (...) as we-intention, mutual belief) and other social attitudes expressing collective intentionality and needed for the explication and explanation of social action; social macro-notions, such as actions performed by social groups and properties of social groups such as their goals and beliefs; social practices, and institutions (see e.g. Tuomela, 1995, 2000a, 2001). The theory of social action understood analogously in a broad sense would then involve not only philosophical but all other relevant theorizing about social action. Thus, in this sense, such fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as Distributed AI (DAI) and the theory of Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) fall within the scope of the theory of social action. DAI studies the social side of computer systems and includes various well-known areas ranging from human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, organizational processing, and distributed problem solving to the simulation of social systems. (shrink)
This paper discusses supportive neurological and social evidence for 'collective consciousness', here understood as a shared sense of being together with others in a single or unified experience. Mirror neurons in the premotor and posterior parietal cortices respond to the intentions as well as the actions of other individuals. There are also mirror neurons in the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortices which have been implicated in empathy. Many authors have considered the likely role of such mirror systems (...) in the development of uniquely human aspects of sociality including language. Though not without criticism, Menant has made the case that mirror-neuron assisted exchanges aided the original advent of self-consciousness and intersubjectivity. Combining these ideas with social mirror theory it is not difficult to imagine the creation of similar dynamical patterns in the emotional and even cognitive neuronal activity of individuals in human groups, creating a feeling in which the participating members experience a unified sense of consciousness. Such instances pose a kind of 'binding problem' in which participating individuals exhibit a degree of 'entanglement'. (shrink)
In this paper I propose that what social psychologists refer to as social identity is a plausible empirical correlate on the part of the individual to what some philosophers and economists call collective intention. A discussion of an experiment yields the question what kind of mental state social identity might be and how it is related to the standard desire/belief conception. It is argued that social identity involves both a desire and a belief, and that (...) one distinguishing feature of it is that it makes individual choice parametric. (shrink)
A perspective is developed for approaching affliction as a social fact. Disability and disease are considered as two ways in which we suffer a disjunction which arises from the need to take initiative with respect to the inexorable, whether that means the mark of disability or the unconquerability of disease.The story of affliction always raises and masks in certain respects the problem of suffering as the collective representation of our experience of subjectivity where that experience passes through the (...) separateness of being marked to the singularity of being without hope. (shrink)
Many social properties and notions are collectively made. Two collectively created aspects of the social world have been emphasized in recent literature. The first is that of the performative character of many social things (entities, properties). The second is the reflexive nature of many social concepts. The present account adds to this list a third feature, the collective availability or “for-groupness” of collectivesocial items. It is a precise account of social notions (...) and social facts in terms of collective appearance. The collective acceptance account has ontological implications in that it accepts mind-independent, group-dependent, and simply mind-dependent social facts. (shrink)
The paper seeks to draw out the connections between social capital, collective intelligence and expansive learning, interrogating the terms for their progressive potential. It sets these concepts within their socio-economic context, one which asserts that the development of social capital will be a vehicle for economic regeneration and competitiveness as well as a mechanism for the generation of social inclusion and cohesion. It concludes by arguing that the debate is set within a context that accepts capitalist (...) relations and that this places a limit on the progressive potential of social capital, collective intelligence and expansive learning. (shrink)
This article demonstrates how Adorno and Horkheimer’s turn to psychoanalytic concepts like sublimation and intra-psychic conflict strengthened critical theory. The piecemeal collective psychology they produced was used to understand fascism and anti-Semitism. But the full significance of these psychoanalytic explanations was concealed by Adorno, who elsewhere denied the possibility of psychology proper after the death of the individual. Adorno and Horkheimer’s underhanded borrowing from psychoanalysis for social analysis had the effect of filtering collective psychology through the lens (...) of regression. To amend this, the article analyzes psychoanalytic explanations from an interpretive perspective, building upon Jessica Benjamin’s psychoanalytic feminism, to contest the tactics of immanent criticism and to revitalize the project of a less dystopic collective psychology. (shrink)
Dixon et al. suggest that the psychological literature on intergroup relations should shift from theorizing to A focus on social change exposes the importance of psychological theories involving collective phenomena like social norms and institutions. Individuals' attitudes and emotions may follow, rather than cause, changes in social norms and institutional arrangements.
Changes in collective categories of identity are at the core of social transformation. The causal linkages among identity change, institutional change, and change in modes of practice are, however, complex. Developing and adapting ideas from Pierre Bourdieu's work, this article shows the coexistence in tension of a plurality of elements within each collective identity category. On this basis, it proposes a typology of responses at the level of identity to socio-political change. This allows an explanation of patterns (...) of identity change in terms of wider social processes and resource distribution, while remaining open to the sense and complexity of the individual's experience and the moments of intentionality that arise when individuals face choices as to the direction of change. The worth of the model is shown by analysis of modes of identity change in a society now experiencing radical change in socio-political structures, namely post-1998 Northern Ireland. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert's plural subject theory defines social collectives in terms of common knowledge of expressed willingness to participate in some joint action. The author critically examines Gilbert's application of this theory to linguistic phenomena involving "we," arguing that recent work in linguistics provides the tools to develop a superior account. The author indicates that, apart from its own relevance, one should care about this critique because Gilbert's claims about the first person plural pronoun play a role in the argument (...) in favor of her recent theory of political obligation. Key Words: collective agent • Gilbert • plural subject • semantics • we. (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.
This paper clarifies Searle's account of we-intentions and then argues that it is subject to counterexamples, some of which are derived from examples Searle uses against other accounts. It then offers an alternative reductive account that is not subject to the counterexamples.
This article examines capacity development for collective action and institutional change through the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. We integrate Hargrave and Van de Ven's (2006, Academy of Management Review 31(4), 864-888) Collective Action Model with capacity development literature to develop a framework that can be used to clarify the nature of CSR involvement in capacity development, help identify alternative CSR response options, consider expected impacts of these options on stakeholders, and highlight trade-offs across alternative (...) CSR investments. Our framework encompasses CSR program investments in the capacities of individuals, organizations, and collaborations, as also their impact on the larger enabling environment. We then use this framework to provide descriptive evidence of two implementations: (1) The PhD Project, whose mission is to increase the diversity of corporate America by increasing the diversity of business school faculty, and (2) Involve, the community involvement program at KPMG, one of the Big Four Accounting firms. We discuss implications of our framework for managerial practice and future research. (shrink)
The Lithuanian success of implementing international obligation in order to encourage the regulation of labour relations by means of collective agreements is analyzed in this article. It is emphasized that development of social partnership is too slow, coverage of regulation of labour relations by means of collective agreement also is low-level and collective agreements basically are made at the plant level. It is noticed that, because of the need to find a suitable balance between implementing the (...) international obligation to encourage regulation of labour relations by means of collective agreements, and the necessity to undermine the raison d’être of the regulation by means of collective agreements itself, as the process, where attitudes of social partners has to be harmonised at maximum, the state has limited scope to influence the process of making collective agreements. (shrink)
In everyday discourse and in the context of social scientific research we often attribute intentional states to groups. Contemporary approaches to group intentionality have either dismissed these attributions as metaphorical or provided an analysis of our attributions in terms of the intentional states of individuals in the group.Insection1, the author argues that these approaches are problematic. In sections 2 and 3, the author defends the view that certain groups are literally intentional agents. In section 4, the author argues that (...) there are significant reasons for social scientists and philosophers of social science to acknowledge the adequacy of macro-level explanations that involve the attribution of intentional states to groups. In section 5, the author considers and responds to some criticisms of the thesis she defends. (shrink)
Theater production is a collaborative creative activity. Social creativity recognizes the relationships between creative groups and the contexts in which creativity emerges. It also suggests that the interactive processes between the collaborators and their work form a center, which in turn becomes a kind of creative entity itself. An evolving systems case study of production practices at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival illuminates this process and illustrates the differences between seeing an aggregate creative activity and the more holistic view, in (...) which the artwork functions like another person, a creature in dialogue with the personality of the creative system. (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)
To be pertinent to democratic practice, collective choice functions need not apply to all possible constellations of individual preference, but only to those that are humanly possible in an appropriate sense. The present paper develops a theory of humanly possible preference within the context of the mathematical theory of learning. The theory of preference is then exploited in an attempt to resolve Arrow's voting paradox through restriction of the domain of majoritarian choice functions.
This article discusses the integrative function frequently assigned to festive events by scholars. This function can be summed up in a proposition: experiencing similar emotions during collective gatherings is a powerful element of socialization. The article rejects this oft-developed idea according to which popular fervor could be an efficient tool to measure civic engagement. It raises the following question: what makes enthusiasm “civic”, “patriotic”, “republican” or simply “political”? Based on a study of French presidential tours in France from 1888 (...) to 2007, this article casts a different light on the topic. The enthusiasm of the crowds interacting with the successive French presidents is not civic because an inquiry may find “patriotism” into participants’ minds. It can be called civic simply because the forms and meaning of the festive jubilation, which may be summarized into the formula: “if spectators applaud, it means they support,” necessarily preexist its multiple manifestations. (shrink)
No longer is sociality the preserve of the social sciences, or ‘‘culture’’ the preserve of the humanities or anthropology. By the same token, cognition is no longer the sole preserve of the cognitive sciences. Social cognition (SC) or, sociocognition if you like, is thus a kaleidoscope of research projects that has seen exponential growth over the past 30 or so years.
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)
Standard accounts in social ontology and the group cognition debate have typically focused on how collective modes, types, and contents of intentions or representational states must be construed so as to constitute the jointness of the respective agents, cognizers, and their engagements. However, if we take intentions, beliefs, or mental representations all to instantiate some mental properties, then the more basic issue regarding such collective engagements is what it is for groups of individual minds to share a (...) mind. Somewhat surprisingly, this very issue has not received much attention in the respective debates and when it has, typically the outlook has been skeptical or outright negative. In this paper, I argue that it is epistemologically possible for a group of individuals to literally share a single mental unit. In particular, I will put forward and defend what I shall call the zombie conception of group minds. (shrink)
I argue that scientific knowledge is collective knowledge, in a sense to be specified and defended. I first consider some existing proposals for construing collective knowledge and argue that they are unsatisfactory, at least for scientific knowledge as we encounter it in actual scientific practice. Then I introduce an alternative conception of collective knowledge, on which knowledge is collective if there is a strong form of mutual epistemic dependence among scientists, which makes it so that satisfaction (...) of the justification condition on knowledge ineliminably requires a collective. Next, I show how features of contemporary science support the conclusion that scientific knowledge is collective knowledge in this sense. Finally, I consider implications of my proposal and defend it against objections. (shrink)
Mayr’s distinction between proximate and ultimate explanation is justly famous, marking out a division of explanatory labor in biology. But while it is a useful heuristic in many cases, there are others in which proximate factors play an important role in shaping evolutionary trajectories, and in such cases, each project is sensitive to, and relevant to, the other. This general methodological claim is developed in the context of a discussion of human cooperation, and in particular, in a discussion on the (...) puzzling stability of the social contract over the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. For I argue that while we have a plausible account of the stability of Pleistocene cooperation, the stabilizing factors of the Pleistocene disappear in the Holocene, but cooperation does not. Holocene humans solved many collective action problems; cooperation did not collapse despite the apparent growth of free-riding elites. So the article combines a methodological claim about the interaction of proximate and evolutionary biology with a substantive one about the ecology of human cooperation. (shrink)