About this topic
Summary Intentionality is the power of the mind to be about, directed at, or to represent events, objects, properties and states of affairs.  The study of collective intentionality is the study of intentionality in the social context.  What is distinctive about the study of collective intentionality within the broader study of social interactions and structures is its focus on the conceptual and psychological features of joint or shared actions and attitudes, that is, actions and attitudes of (or apparent attributions of such to) groups or collectives, their relations to individual actions and attitudes, and their implications for the nature of social groups and their functioning.  It subsumes the study of collective action, responsibility, reasoning, thought, intention, emotion, phenomenology, decision-making, knowledge, trust, rationality, cooperation, competition, and related issues, as well as how these underpin social practices, organizations, conventions, institutions and social ontology.  Collective intentionality is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary area of research that draws on philosophy, logic, linguistics, cognitive science, sociology, computer science, psychology, economics, political science, legal theory, and cultural and evolutionary anthropology.
Key works Pioneering work by philosophers Raimo Tuomela (Tuomela & Miller 1988) and Margaret Gilbert (Gilbert 1990; Gilbert 1989) in the 1980s led to a rapid expansion of interest in joint action and intention in the 1990s, with important contributions by Michael Bratman (Bratman 1992; Bratman 1993) and John Searle (Searle 1990; Searle 1995; Searle 2009).  Tuomela, Gilbert and Searle offer non-reductive accounts of joint intention. Bratman (Bratman 2014), Miller (Miller 2001) and Ludwig (Ludwig 2007)(Ludwig 2016)(Ludwig 2017) offer reductive accounts. This has been attended by work on collective attitudes, reasoning, emotions, and so on more generally (Schmitt 2003).
Introductions Tollefsen 2004, Schweikard & Schmid 2012, Jankovic & Ludwig 2016, Ludwig & Jankovic 2018
Related categories

491 found
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  1. added 2019-04-18
    Shared and Social Discourse.Mattia Gallotti - 2019 - Topoi 38 (tbc):1-9.
    On the premise that people achieve knowledge of things by sharing mental resources, what are the scope and philosophical significance of acts of shared intentionality in social discourse? Some philosophers and scientists of social cognition, most notably Jane Heal and Michael Tomasello, have drawn upon insights about the capacity of individual people to share mental resources and contents to argue for the importance of sociality in shaping mental activity. In this paper, I synthetize these strands of research with the aim (...)
  2. added 2019-04-16
    The Individual ‘We’ Narrator.Mattia Gallotti & Raphael Lyne - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59:ayy051.
    The prevailing assumption in literary studies tends to be that a ‘we’ narrative voice is either that of an individual purporting to speak for a group, or that of a collective of people whose perspectives have coalesced into a unified one. Recent work on social agency across the cognitive humanities suggests another way of understanding what might be conveyed by such a ‘we’. Social cognition research shows that individuals can have their capacities changed and enhanced when they interact with others, (...)
  3. added 2019-03-11
    Resisting Oppression Together: Shared Intentions and Unequal Agents.Christina Friedlaender - 2018 - In Kendy Hess, Tracy Isaacs & Violetta Igneski (eds.), Collectivity: Ontology, Ethics, and Social Justice. London, UK: pp. 265-289.
    One striking feature of any anti-oppression movement is the range of people who understand themselves as acting jointly within them. In feminist action, for instance, people are situated differently along lines of race, class, sexuality, immigration and citizenship status, physical and mental ability, and, of course, gender. Such differences descriptively and normatively impact what it means for an agent to engage in joint actions. In order to understand how agents act together, we must first understand how agents share intentions. However, (...)
  4. added 2019-03-08
    From Individual to Collective Intentionality.Gerhard Preyer, Frank Hindriks & Sara Rachel Chant (eds.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Many of the things we do, we do together with other people. Think of carpooling and playing tennis. In the past two or three decades it has become increasingly popular to analyze such collective actions in terms of collective intentions. This volume brings together ten new philosophical essays that address issues such as how individuals succeed in maintaining coordination throughout the performance of a collective action, whether groups can actually believe propositions or whether they merely accept them, and what kind (...)
  5. added 2019-03-05
    Against Group Cognitive States.Robert D. Rupert - 2014 - In Gerhard Preyer, Frank Hindriks & Sara Rachel Chant (eds.), From Individual to Collective Intentionality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 97-111.
  6. added 2019-03-03
    Are Institutions Created by Collective Acceptance.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    John Searle, in several articles and books, has contended that institutions incorporating status functions with deontic powers are created by collective acceptance. I show that collective acceptance can create new status functions with legitimate deontic powers only if other status functions with legitimate deontic powers already exist. I explain that collective acceptance can create new institutions only if other institutions are presupposed. The claim that institutions depend upon collective acceptance involves a vicious infinite regress. I argue that new institutions, with (...)
  7. added 2019-03-03
    Searle’s Contradictory Theory of Social Reality.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    John Searle, in several articles and books, has contended that institutions incorporating status functions with deontic powers are created by collective acceptance that is not analysable into individual acceptance. I point out three self-contradictions in Searle’s exposition.
  8. added 2019-02-28
    The Logical Structure of Human Behavior.Michael Starks (ed.) - 2019 - Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press.
    It is my contention that the table of intentionality (rationality, mind, thought, language, personality etc.) that features prominently here describes more or less accurately, or at least serves as an heuristic for, how we think and behave, and so it encompasses not merely philosophy and psychology, but everything else (history, literature, mathematics, politics etc.). Note especially that intentionality and rationality as I (along with Searle, Wittgenstein and others) view it, includes both conscious deliberative linguistic System 2 and unconscious automated prelinguistic (...)
  9. added 2019-01-13
    The Irreducibility of Collective Obligations.Allard Tamminga & Frank Hindriks - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    Individualists claim that collective obligations are reducible to the individual obligations of the collective’s members. Collectivists deny this. We set out to discover who is right by way of a deontic logic of collective action that models collective actions, abilities, obligations, and their interrelations. On the basis of our formal analysis, we argue that when assessing the obligations of an individual agent, we need to distinguish individual obligations from member obligations. If a collective has a collective obligation to bring about (...)
  10. added 2019-01-06
    Communication and Shared Information.Marija Jankovic - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (3):489-508.
    Strawson style counterexamples to Grice’s account of communication show that a communicative intention has to be overt. Saying what overtness consists in has proven to be difficult for Gricean accounts. In this paper, I show that a common explanation of overtness, one that construes it in terms of a network of shared beliefs or knowledge, is mistaken. I offer an alternative, collectivist, model of communication. This model takes the utterer’s communicative intention to be a we-intention, a kind of intention with (...)
  11. added 2019-01-06
    We-Intentions.Raimo Tuomela & Kaarlo Miller - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 53 (3):367-389.
  12. added 2019-01-05
    Collective Attitudes and the Sense of Us: Feeling of Commitment and Limits of Plural Self-Awareness.Katja Crone - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (1):76-90.
  13. added 2019-01-03
    Beyond Team-Directed Reasoning: Participatory Intentions Contribute to a Theory of Collective Agency.Duijf Hein - forthcoming - Logique Et Analyse.
    Philosophical accounts of collective intentionality typically rely on members to form a personal intention of sorts, viewed as a mental state. This tendency is opposed by recent economic literature on team-directed reasoning, which focuses on the reasoning process leading up to the formation of the members’ intentions. Our formal analysis bridges these paradigms and criticizes the team- directed reasoning account on two counts: first, team-directed reasoning is supposed to transcend traditional game and decision theory by adopting a certain collectivistic reasoning (...)
  14. added 2019-01-03
    An Ontology of Power and Leadership.Nuno Ornelas Martins - 2018 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 48 (1):83-97.
    In this article I draw upon the social ontologies developed by John Searle, Roy Bhaskar, Margaret Archer and Tony Lawson in order to distinguish between power and leadership. To do so, I distinguish the different organizing principles behind natural phenomena, collective phenomena and institutional phenomena, and argue that an understanding of those different organizing principles is essential to a clearer conceptualization of power and leadership. Natural power and cultural power, as I argue, depend upon the organizing principles of natural phenomena, (...)
  15. added 2019-01-03
    Understanding Institutions Without Collective Acceptance?Pekka Mäkelä, Raul Hakli & S. M. Amadae - 2018 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 48 (6):608-629.
    Francesco Guala has written an important book proposing a new account of social institutions and criticizing existing ones. We focus on Guala’s critique of collective acceptance theories of institutions, widely discussed in the literature of collective intentionality. Guala argues that at least some of the collective acceptance theories commit their proponents to antinaturalist methodology of social science. What is at stake here is what kind of philosophizing is relevant for the social sciences. We argue that a Searlean version of collective (...)
  16. added 2019-01-03
    Collective Intentionality: A Basic and Early Component of Moral Evolution.Christopher Boehm - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (5):680-702.
  17. added 2019-01-03
    Collective Intentionality and Plural Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness.Dan Zahavi - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (1):61-75.
  18. added 2019-01-03
    The Subject of “We Intend”.Hans Schmid - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (2):231-243.
    This paper examines and compares the ways in which intentions of the singular kind and the plural kind are subjective. Are intentions of the plural kind ours in the same way intentions of the singular kind are mine? Starting with the singular case, it is argued that “I intend” is subjective in virtue of self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is special in that it is self-identifying, self-validating, self-committing, and self-authorizing. Moving to the plural form, it is argued that in spite of apparent differences, (...)
  19. added 2019-01-03
    Putting Plural Self-Awareness Into Practice: The Phenomenology of Expert Musicianship.Alessandro Salice, Simon Høffding & Shaun Gallagher - 2018 - Topoi:1-13.
    Based on a qualitative study about expert musicianship, this paper distinguishes three ways of interacting by putting them in relation to the sense of agency. Following Pacherie, it highlights that the phenomenology of shared agency undergoes a drastic transformation when musicians establish a sense of we-agency. In particular, the musicians conceive of the performance as one single action towards which they experience an epistemic privileged access. The implications of these results for a theory of collective intentionality are discussed by addressing (...)
  20. added 2019-01-03
    Collective Intentionality, Social Domination, and Reification.J. Thompson Michael - 2017 - Journal of Social Ontology 3 (2):207-229.
    This paper addresses the way that social power and domination can be understood in terms of collective intentionality. I argue that the essence of stable forms of rational power and domination must be understood as the functional influence of material resource control and the power to control the norms and collective-intentional, constitutive rules that guide institutions. As a result, the routinization and internalization of these rules by subjects becomes the criterion of success for any system of social power and social (...)
  21. added 2019-01-03
    Actions and Events in Plural Discourse.Kirk Ludwig - 2017 - In Marija Jankovic & Kirk Ludwig (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Collective Intentionality. New York: Routledge. pp. 476-488.
    This chapter is concerned with plural discourse in the grammatical sense. The goal of the chapter is to urge the value of the event analysis of the matrix of action sentences in thinking about logical form in plural discourse about action. Among the claims advanced are that: -/- 1. The ambiguity between distributive and collective readings of plural action sentences is not lexical ambiguity, either in the noun phrase (NP) or in the verb phrase (VP), but an ambiguity tracing to (...)
  22. added 2019-01-03
    Social Ontology and Collective Intentionality: Critical Essays on the Philosophy of Raimo Tuomela with His Responses.Georg Peter & Gerhard Preyer (eds.) - 2017 - Springer.
  23. added 2019-01-03
    Mind, Collective Agency, Norms.Pietro Salis & Guido Seddone (eds.) - 2017 - Shaker Verlag.
    In recent years, the social world is quickly gaining the focus of attention within the philosophical debates. The work of authors such as John Searle, Barry Smith, Margaret Gilbert, Raimo Tuomela, to name just a few, is becoming increasingly important within the philosophical community. Hence, topics in social ontology dealing with the nature of institutions, collective actions, collective self/personhood, collective intentionality, shared goals and commitments, etc. are increasingly addressed by contemporary philosophical investigations. The discussion on these topics is today sprawling (...)
  24. added 2019-01-03
    Collective Obligations, Group Plans and Individual Actions.Allard Tamminga & Hein Duijf - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy 33 (2):187-214.
    If group members aim to fulfill a collective obligation, they must act in such a way that the composition of their individual actions amounts to a group action that fulfills the collective obligation. We study a strong sense of joint action in which the members of a group design and then publicly adopt a group plan that coordinates the individual actions of the group members. We characterize the conditions under which a group plan successfully coordinates the group members' individual actions, (...)
  25. added 2019-01-03
    On the Transformative Character of Collective Intentionality and the Uniqueness of the Human.Andrea Kern & Henrike Moll - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (3):315-333.
    Current debates on collective intentionality focus on the cognitive capacities, attitudes, and mental states that enable individuals to take part in joint actions. It is typically assumed that collective intentionality is a capacity which is added to other, pre-existing, capacities of an individual and is exercised in cooperative activities like carrying a table or painting a house together. We call this the additive account because it portrays collective intentionality as a capacity that an individual possesses in addition to her capacity (...)
  26. added 2019-01-03
    Social Ontology and Collective Intentionality: Critical Essays on the Philosophy of Raimo Tuomela with His Responses.Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peters (eds.) - 2017 - Springer.
  27. added 2019-01-03
    Are Children Capable of Collective Intentionality?Laura Wildemann Kane - 2017 - Childhood and Philosophy 13 (27):291-302.
    The family presents an interesting challenge to many conceptions of collective activity and the makeup of social groups. Social philosophers define social groups as being comprised of individuals who knowingly consent to their group membership or voluntarily act to continue their group membership. This notion of voluntarism that is built into the concept of a social group rests upon a narrow conception of agency that is difficult to extend beyond able-minded autonomous adults. Families, however, are often comprised of members who (...)
  28. added 2019-01-03
    Moved by Masses? Shared Moods and Their Impact on Immoral Behavior.Eva Weber-Guskar - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (4):1663-1679.
    It is often suggested that people in large groups behave and act differently than when they are alone. More precisely, it is an often-repeated claim that they tend to act in a morally problematic or plainly reprehensible way. Still, a fully satisfying explanation has not yet been given for why this is the case. In this paper, I suggest that the phenomenon of shared moods may play a crucial role here. In order to explicate and support this thesis, first, I (...)
  29. added 2019-01-03
    Routledge Handbook on Collective Intentionality.Marija Jankovic and Kirk Ludwig (ed.) - 2017
  30. added 2019-01-03
    Collective Intentionality, Complex Pluralism and the Problem of Anarchy.Alex Prichard - 2017 - Journal of International Political Theory 13 (3).
    In this article, I argue that contemporary theories of collective intentionality force us to think about anarchy in new and challenging ways. In the years since Wendt declared the state a person, the collective intentionality of groups has become the focus of important scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. But this literature will not sit easily with mainstream International Relations for two reasons. First, contemporary theories of collective intentionality are difficult to square with the idea that the personified state (...)
  31. added 2019-01-03
    Social Ontology: Collective Intentionality and Group Agents, Written by Raimo Tuomela.Randall Harp - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (5):608-611.
  32. added 2019-01-03
    Collective Attitudes and the Anthropocentric View.Gallotti Mattia - 2016 - Journal of Social Ontology 2 (1):149-157.
    The anthropocentric view holds that the social world is a projection of mental states and attitudes onto the real world. However, there is more to a society of individuals than their psychological make up. In The Ant Trap, Epstein hints at the possibility that collective intentionality can, and should, be discarded as a pillar of social ontology. In this commentary I argue that this claim is motivated by an outdated view of the nature and structure of collective attitudes. If we (...)
  33. added 2019-01-03
    The Curious Case of Collective Experience: Edith Stein’s Phenomenology of Communal Experience and a Spanish Fire-Walking Ritual.Burns Timothy - 2016 - The Humanistic Psychologist 44 (4):366-380.
    In everyday language, we readily attribute experiences to groups. For example, 1 might say, “Spain celebrated winning the European Cup” or “The uncovering of corruption caused the union to think long and hard about its internal structure.” In each case, the attribution makes sense. However, it is quite difficult to give a nonreductive account of precisely what these statements mean because in each case a mental state is ascribed to a group, and it is not obvious that groups can have (...)
  34. added 2019-01-03
    No Joint Ownership! Shared Emotions Are Social-Relational Emotions.Vivian Bohl - 2016 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 9 (1):111-135.
    There are cases of emotion that we readily describe as 'sharing emotions with other people.' How should we understand such cases? Joel Krueger has proposed the Joint Ownership Thesis : the view that two or more people can literally share the same emotional episode. His view is partly inspired by his reading of Merleau-Ponty -- arguably Merleau-Ponty advocates a version of JOT in his "The child's relations with others." My critical analysis demonstrates that JOT is flawed in several respects: 1) (...)
  35. added 2019-01-03
    Joint Intentionality.Koreň Ladislav - 2016 - Journal of Social Ontology 2 (1):75-85.
    According to the shared intentionality hypothesis proposed by Michael Tomasello, two cognitive upgrades – joint and collective intentionality, respectively – make human thinking unique. Joint intentionality, in particular, is a mindset supposed to account for our early, species-specific capacity to participate in collaborative activities involving two agents. In order to elucidate such activities and their proximate cognitive-motivational mechanism, Tomasello draws on philosophical accounts of shared intentionality. I argue that his deference to such cognitively demanding accounts of shared intentional activities is (...)
  36. added 2019-01-03
    Collective Emotions and Joint Action.Salmela Mikko & Nagatsu Michiru - 2016 - Journal of Social Ontology 2 (1):33-57.
    In contemporary philosophy of collective intentionality, emotions, feelings, moods, and sentiments do not figure prominently in debates on the explanation and justification of joint action. Received philosophical theories analyze joint action in terms of common knowledge of cognitively complex, interconnected structures of intentions and action plans of the participants. These theories admit that collective emotions sometimes give rise to joint action or more typically, unplanned and uncoordinated collective behavior that falls short of full-fledged jointly intentional action. In contrast, minimalist theorists (...)
  37. added 2019-01-03
    Collective Intentionality and the State Theory of Money.Georgios Papadopoulos - 2015 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 8 (2):1.
  38. added 2019-01-03
    The Ontology of Money: Institutions, Power and Collective Intentionality.Georgios Papadopoulos - 2015 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 8 (1):136.
  39. added 2019-01-03
    Social Phenomenology: Husserl, Intersubjectivity, and Collective Intentionality, by Eric Chelstrom. [REVIEW]Thomas Szanto - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (2):296-301.
  40. added 2019-01-03
    Social Phenomenology: Husserl, Intersubjectivity, and Collective Intentionality.Thomas Szanto - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (2):296-301.
  41. added 2019-01-03
    Collective Intentionality in Economics: Making Searle's Theory of Institutional Facts Relevant for Game Theory.Cyril Hédoin - 2013 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 6 (1):1.
  42. added 2019-01-03
    Acting Intentionally and its Limits: Individuals, Groups, Institutions.Michael Schmitz, Gottfried Seebaß & Peter M. Gollwitzer (eds.) - 2013 - Berlin: DeGruyter.
    The book presents the first comprehensive survey of limits of the intentional control of action from an interdisciplinary perspective. It brings together leading scholars from philosophy, psychology, and the law to elucidate this theoretically and practically important topic from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary approaches. It provides reflections on conceptual foundations as well as a wealth of empirical data and will be a valuable resource for students and researchers alike. Among the authors: Clancy Blair, Todd S. Braver, Michael W. (...)
  43. added 2019-01-03
    Restructuring Searle’s Making the Social World.Julie Zahle - 2013 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (3):373-389.
    Institutions are normative social structures that are collectively accepted. In his book Making the Social World, John R. Searle maintains that these social structures are created and maintained by Status Function Declarations. The article’s author criticizes this claim and argues, first, that Searle overestimates the role that language plays in relation to institutions and, second, that Searle’s notion of a Status Function Declaration confuses more than it enlightens. The distinction is exposed between regulative and constitutive rules as being primarily a (...)
  44. added 2019-01-03
    Social Facts and Collective Intentionality. Philosophische Forschung / Philosophical Research.Georg Meggle (ed.) - 2002 - Dr. Haensel-Hohenhausen.
  45. added 2018-11-25
    For-Me-Ness, For-Us-Ness, and the We-Relationship.Felipe León - forthcoming - Topoi:1-12.
    This article investigates the relationship between for-me-ness and sociality. I start by pointing out some ambiguities in claims pursued by critics that have recently pressed on the relationship between the two notions. I next articulate a question concerning for-me-ness and sociality that builds on the idea that, occasionally at least, there is something it is like ‘for us’ to have an experience. This idea has been explored in recent literature on shared experiences and collective intentionality, and it gestures towards the (...)
  46. added 2018-09-30
    Corporate Criminal Minds.Mihailis Diamantis - 2016 - Notre Dame Law Review 91:2049.
    In order to commit the vast majority of crimes, corporations must, in some sense, have mental states. Lawmakers and scholars assume that factfinders need fundamentally different procedures for attributing mental states to corporations and individuals. As a result, they saddle themselves with unjustifiable theories of mental state attribution, like respondeat superior, that produce results wholly at odds with all the major theories of the objectives of criminal law. -/- This Article draws on recent findings in cognitive science to develop a (...)
  47. added 2018-09-13
    Co-Subjective Consciousness Constitutes Collectives.Michael Schmitz - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (1):137-160.
    In this paper I want to introduce and defend what I call the "subject mode account" of collective intentionality. I propose to understand collectives from joint attention dyads over small informal groups of various types to organizations, institutions and political entities such as nation states, in terms of their self-awareness. On the subject mode account, the self-consciousness of such collectives is constitutive for their being. More precisely, their self-representation as subjects of joint theoretical and practical positions towards the world – (...)
  48. added 2018-07-24
    Collective Intentionality in Non-Human Animals.Robert A. Wilson - 2017 - In Marija Jankovic and Kirk Ludwig (ed.), Routledge Handbook on Collective Intentionality. New York, NY, USA: pp. 420-432.
    I think there is something to be said in a positive and constructive vein about collective intentionality in non-human animals. Doing so involves probing at the concept of collective intentionality fairly directly (Section 2), considering the various forms that collective intentionality might take (Section 3), showing some sensitivity to the history of appeals to that concept and its close relatives (Section 4), and raising some broader questions about the relationships between sociality, cognition, and institutions by discussing two different possible cases (...)
  49. added 2018-07-24
    Group-Level Cognizing, Collaborative Remembering, and Individuals.Robert A. Wilson - 2017 - In Penny Van Bergen Michelle Meade (ed.), Collaborative Remembering: Theories, Research, and Applications. New York, NY, USA: pp. 248-260.
    This chapter steps back from the important psychological work on collaborative remembering at the heart of the present volume to take up some broader questions about the place of memory in Western cultural thought, both historically and in contemporary society, offering the kind of integrative and reflective perspective for which philosophy is often known. In particular, the text aims to shed some light on the relationship between collaborative memory and the other two topics in this title—group-level cognizing and individuals—beginning with (...)
  50. added 2018-06-29
    Corporate Crocodile Tears? On the Reactive Attitudes of Corporate Agents.Gunnar Björnsson & Kendy Hess - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):273–298.
    Recently, a number of people have argued that certain entities embodied by groups of agents themselves qualify as agents, with their own beliefs, desires, and intentions; even, some claim, as moral agents. However, others have independently argued that fully-fledged moral agency involves a capacity for reactive attitudes such as guilt and indignation, and these capacities might seem beyond the ken of “collective” or “ corporate ” agents. Individuals embodying such agents can of course be ashamed, proud, or indignant about what (...)
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