Why we do things together: The social motivation for joint action

Philosophical Psychology 26 (4):588-603 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Joint action is a growing field of research, spanning across the cognitive, behavioral, and brain sciences as well as receiving considerable attention amongst philosophers. I argue that there has been a significant oversight within this field concerning the possibility that many joint actions are driven, at least in part, by agents' social motivations rather than merely by their shared intentions. Social motivations are not directly related to the (joint) target goal of the action. Instead, when agents are mutually socially motivated in joint action this is because they find acting with others rewarding in its own right. Moreover the involvement of social motivation in joint action typically enables individuals to achieve the long-term benefits associated with being part of a social bond. I argue that taking social motivations into account better prepares us for explaining a broader range of joint actions, including those that are of an antagonistic, competitive, or explorative character. Finally, I show that recognizing the importance of social motivations entails that joint actions (in general) should be understood as having the two primary functions of (1) achieving the intended target outcome of an action, and (2) attaining the benefits related to being part of a social bond



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,377

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Joint attention in joint action.Anika Fiebich & Shaun Gallagher - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (4):571-87.
Let’s pretend!: Children and joint action.Deborah Tollefsen - 2005 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (1):75-97.
Early Developments in Joint Action.Celia A. Brownell - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):193-211.
Joint actions and group agents.Philip Pettit & David Schweikard - 2006 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):18-39.
Naturalizing joint action: A process-based approach.Deborah Tollefsen & Rick Dale - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (3):385-407.
The importance of us: a philosophical study of basic social notions.Raimo Tuomela - 1995 - Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Joint Motor Action and Cross-Creature Embodiment.Axel Seemann - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):279-301.
The emergence of self.Natalie Sebanz - 2007 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (1-2):234-251.


Added to PP

84 (#172,069)

6 months
1 (#866,649)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?