Practical Intersubjectivity

In F. Schmitt (ed.), Socializing Metaphysics : The Nature of Social Reality. Rowman & Littlefield, 65-91. pp. 65-91 (2003)
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Abstract

The intentions of others often enter into your practical reasoning, even when you’re acting on your own. Given all the agents around you, you’ll come to grief if what they’re up to is never a consideration in what you decide to do and how you do it. There are occasions, however, when the intentions of another figure in your practical reasoning in a particularly intimate and decisive fashion. I will speak of there being on such occasions a practical intersubjectivity of intentions holding between you and the other individual. I will try to identify this practical intersubjectivity, and to take some preliminary steps toward giving a philosophical account of it. Occasions of practical intersubjectivity are usually those where individuals share agency, or do things jointly, such as when they walk together, kiss, or paint a house together. I will not assume that all instances of practical intersubjectivity are instances of shared agency. But the converse is true: any instance of shared agency involves a practical intersubjectivity holding between the participants. An account of shared agency is inadequate if it fails to handle practical intersubjectivity. The paper is structured as follows. In section 1, I present an example to illustrate this idea of practical intersubjectivity, at least as it appears in the context of shared agency. Practical intersubjectivity is a normative phenomenon, and it is on this basis that in section 2 I distinguish it from the mere coordination of intentions some have recognized as essential for shared activity. The task of section 3 is to show how practical intersubjectivity cannot be adequately described in terms of ordinary intentions familiar from the study of individual agency. Such approaches fail to handle the rational dynamics of intention revision when practical..

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Abe (Abraham) Roth
Ohio State University

Citations of this work

Shared agency and contralateral commitments.Abraham Sesshu Roth - 2004 - Philosophical Review 113 (3):359-410.
Shared Agency.Abraham Sesshu Roth - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Group Agents and the Phenomenology of Joint Action.Jordan Baker & Michael Ebling - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-25.

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