Journal of Social Philosophy 51 (1):129-151 (2020)

Leo Townsend
University of Vienna
According Philip Pettit, suitably organised groups not only possess ‘minds of their own’ but can also ‘make up their minds’ and 'speak for themselves'--where these two capacities enable them to perform as conversable subjects or 'persons'. In this paper I critically examine Pettit's case for group personhood. My first step is to reconstruct his account, explaining first how he understands the two capacities he considers central to personhood – the capacity to ‘make up one’s mind’, and the capacity to ‘speak for oneself’ – before showing how he thinks these can be manifested in groups. With Pettit’s account duly reconstructed, I then turn to criticism, arguing that Pettit’s construal of making up one’s mind does not do proper justice to our first-personal self-understanding, nor to our characteristic interpersonal forms of engagement. This leads me, finally, to consider an alternative construal of ‘making up one’s mind’ and ‘speaking for oneself’ that is associated with the work of Richard Moran and whichargue, could usefully be exteextended to groups.
Keywords group agency  collective self-awareness  avowal  Philip Pettit  Richard Moran
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/josp.12295
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.William P. Alston - 1970 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.
Controlling Attitudes.Pamela Hieronymi - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (1):45-74.
On the People’s Terms.Philip Pettit - 2012 - Political Theory 44 (5):697-706.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Introduction.Martin Kusch, Herlinde Pauer-Studer & Hans Bernhard Schmid - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S9):1563-1563.
Group Mind.Georg Theiner & Wilson Robert - 2013 - In Byron Kaldis (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences. Sage Publications. pp. 401-04.
Group Minds and the Problem of the First Belief.Arto Laitinen - 2014 - Balkan Journal of Philosophy 2014 (1):43-48.
Group Agency, Responsibility, and Control.Anders Strand - 2013 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (2):201-224.
Akrasia, Collective and Individual.Philip Pettit - 2003 - In Christine Tappolet & Sarah Stroud (eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 68--97.


Added to PP index

Total views
140 ( #75,001 of 2,446,179 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #22,044 of 2,446,179 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes