Michael E. Bratman, Shared Agency: A Planning Theory of Acting Together: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. ISBN 9780199339990, $29.95, Pbk

Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (2):489-493 (2016)
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In Shared Agency: A Planning Theory of Acting Together, Michael Bratman refines, systematizes, and defends his “planning theory” of shared agency, various elements of which were sketched in a series of earlier essays on the topic. The book is analytically rigorous and fairly technical at points, but organized and written with extraordinary clarity. It represents a valuable contribution to the literature on shared intention and joint activity, and is essential reading for philosophers working in that area.Bratman takes as his central foils Margaret Gilbert and John Searle, both of whom argue that there is a fundamental discontinuity between individual agency and shared agency in that the resources needed to explain the latter extend beyond those that enable us to explain the former. According to those theorists, an adequate account of shared agency requires appeal to “some new and fundamentally different kind of practical element” : an irreducible “joint commitment” on Gilbert’s ..



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Steven Weimer
Arkansas State University

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