Acting As a Group Member

Raimo Tuomela
University of Helsinki
Much of human life consists of acting in a group context. We are members of several social groups – small social groups, organizations, nations, states, etc. As to groups, some of them are capable of action, e.g. teams and task groups, organizations, and states. Such group action is action as a group (in contrast to the group members just acting separately and as private persons toward a shared goal, for instance). Groups can only act through their members’ actions. To give an example, a group of peace demonstrators gets the permission to march in the streets but is later accused of demolishing property due to some members’ lack of commitment to the group’s rules. These kinds of situations indicate that there is a need to take a closer look at what acting as a group member and what group members’ collective commitment involve and presuppose. I will below elucidate these notions in several different ways and try to show for which situations the various analyses are adequate.
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