Who has got our Group-Intentions?

In Johann C. Marek & Maria E. Reicher (eds.), Erfahrung und Analyse. Beiträge des 27. Internationalen Wittgenstein-Sym­posiums. ILWG. pp. 151-153 (2004)
Ludger Jansen
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
There are group-actions, and if actions are intentional, there should also be group-intentions. Who has got these intentions? The groups? This seems to be the natural answer. But then: Groups do not have a mind or brain of there own to form any mental attitude. Different kinds of individualistic analyses of group-intentions have been suggested in the literature. On the one hand there are suggestions to reduce group intentions to a complex of different Iattitudes. John Searle, on the other hand, suggests a special social kind of attitudes, namely we-intentions. We-intentions are being had by individual persons, though they have the form “We intend to do such-and-such”. However, because of the fallibility of Searlian we-intentions and the possibility of ignorance this concept is of no help: We-intentions are neither necessary nor sufficient for group-intentions. In this respect, Margaret Gilbert’s approach is much more successful, though it covers only a special case, namely small-scale informal groups. I suggest a generalised solution in order to cover also large-scale and formal groups.
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