Social intentions: Aggregate, collective, and general

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 26 (1):61-76 (1996)
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The literature on collective action largely ignores the constraints that moral principle places on action-prompting intentions. Here I suggest that neither individualism nor holism can account for the generality of intentional contents demanded by universalizability principles, respect for persons, or proactive altruism. Utilitarian and communitarian ethics are criticized for nominalism with respect to social intentions. The failure of individualism and holism as grounds for moral theory is confirmed by comparing Tuomela's reductivist analysis of we-intentions with Gilbert's analysis of social facts. Tuomela's account founders over intentions to cooperate, and Gilbert's cannot accommodate legitimate authority, vicarious agency, or group structure.



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James Swindler
Illinois State University

Citations of this work

Social Groups, Explanation and Ontological Holism.Paul Sheehy - 2003 - Philosophical Papers 32 (2):193-224.
Collective reasoning: A critique of Martin Hollis's position.Nicholas Bardsley - 2001 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 4 (4):171-192.
Normativity: From Individual to Collective.J. K. Swindler - 2008 - Journal of Social Philosophy 39 (1):116-130.

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References found in this work

Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter Simons - 1987 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Phenomenology of the Social World.Alfred Schutz - 1967 - Northwestern University Press.

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