Social facts explained and presupposed

In Nikos Psarros & Katinka Schulte-Ostermann (eds.), Facets of Sociality. Ontos Verlag. pp. 243-264 (2006)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Attempts are often made to explain collective action in terms of the interaction of individuals. A common objection to such attempts is that they are circular: Since every interaction presupposes the existence of common practices and common practices involve collective action, no analysis of collective agency in terms of interaction can reduce collectivity away. In this essay I will argue that this does not constitute a real circularity. It is true that common practices are presupposed in every attempt to explain collective action. However, this does not mean that every analysis of collective action presupposes an understanding of collective action. Common practices do not involve or presuppose particular collective actions. They are more fundamental than individual or collective agency. The subject of a common practice is not a ‘us’ or ‘them’, but the impersonal ‘one’: ‘One does this and that’. What ‘one does’ is not yet a joint activity. It is not a particular action at all.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 83,980

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

The freedom of collective agents.Frank Hindriks - 2007 - Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):165–183.
Unintentional collective action.Sara Rachel Chant - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (3):245 – 256.
Rationality in collective action.Margaret Gilbert - 2006 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):3-17.
Acting together.Christopher Kutz - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):1-31.
Why We Did It: An Anscombian Account of Collective Action.Axel Seemann - 2009 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17 (5):637-655.


Added to PP

40 (#316,744)

6 months
1 (#509,414)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Boris Hennig
Ryerson University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Sein und Zeit.Martin Heidegger (ed.) - 1935 - Halle a.: d. S., M. Niemeyer.
Sein und Zeit.Martin Heidegger - 1981 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 14 (1):57-58.
On the Metaphysical Distinction Between Processes and Events.Kathleen Gill - 1993 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):365-384.

Add more references