Group agency: the possibility, design, and status of corporate agents

New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Philip Pettit (2011)
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Abstract

Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? Or are they just collections of individuals that give a misleading impression of unity? This question is important, since the answer dictates how we should explain the behaviour of these entities and whether we should treat them as responsible and accountable on the model of individual agents. Group Agency offers a new approach to that question and is relevant, therefore, to a range of fields from philosophy to law, politics, and the social sciences. Christian List and Philip Pettit argue that there really are group or corporate agents, over and above the individual agents who compose them, and that a proper approach to the social sciences, law, morality, and politics must take account of this fact. Unlike some earlier defences of group agency, their account is entirely unmysterious in character and, despite not being technically difficult, is grounded in cutting-edge work in social choice theory, economics, and philosophy.

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Chapters

The Structure of Group Agents

This chapter builds on the previous two, looking at organizational structures by which the members of a group might aggregate their attitudes so as to enable them to act as a single agent. It shows that a group agent's attitudes will always supervene on the contributions of its members: th... see more

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Author Profiles

Christian List
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Philip Pettit
Australian National University

Citations of this work

Value Capture.C. Thi Nguyen - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
What is a (social) structural explanation?Sally Haslanger - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):113-130.
Games and the art of agency.C. Thi Nguyen - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (4):423-462.
Reliabilist Epistemology.Alvin Goldman & Bob Beddor - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Understanding Artificial Agency.Leonard Dung - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.

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