Page 1. Economics and Philosophy, 26 291--320 Copyright C Cambridge University Press doi: 10.1017 / S0266267110000386 TWO KINDS OF WE-REASONING RAUL HAKLI, KAARLO MILLER AND RAIMO TUOMELA University of Helsinki.
In the paper "We-intentions and Social Action" conceptual issues related to intentional social action are studied. By social actions we here mean actions that are performed together by two or more agents. The central concept of we-intention is introduced and applied to the analysis of simple social practical reasoning. An individualistic analysis of the notion of we-intention is proposed on the basis of the agents, I-intentions and beliefs. The need and indespensability of we-intentions and we-attitudes in general in a theory (...) of intentional social action is emphasized along with the fact that we-intending leads to action in suitable circumstances. (shrink)
We reflect on Raimo Tuomela’s philosophy of social action and group action on the basis of our collaboration in his research group over the years. We will give a brief introduction to Tuomela’s career, his research endeavours, and the development of the field of collective intentionality and social ontology in which he was one of the central figures. We will focus on the development of three central themes in his research: we-intentions, we-reasoning, and collective responsibility.
A person can intend to achieve his own personal aims and ends, but he can also intend to promote the goals of his groups or collectives. In many cases of collective action these two types of intention will coincide, but they need not, and when they clash, collective action dilemmas, like free-riderism, will emerge. In this paper we discuss and analyze a central kind of group-intentions termed we-intentions, and distinguish between absolute and conditional we-intentions. The analyses of the latter are (...) then applied to a study of two related social phenomena: the agent's standing in reserve and free-riding.It is our claim that when the agent is intentionally in reserve, this involves his having a specific conditional we-intention to participate in the group's action. On the other hand, if he intends to free-ride, he intends not to participate. We also discuss and analyze different types of free-rider intentions. A person can also have a more complex intention concerning the group's action: He can have a conditional personal intention to free-ride combined with a conditional reserve member's we-intention to participate in the group's action. This may indicate that his motives are confused or mixed, but in most cases it can be taken to express his uncertainty of the fulfillment of the relevant conditions of his actions. (shrink)
The paper begins with a discussion of Philip Pettit's distinction between individualistic and collectivistic reasoning strategies. I argue that many of his examples, when correctly analysed, do not give rise to what he calls the discursive dilemma. I argue for a collectivistic strategy, which is a holistic premise-driven strategy. I will concentrate on three aspects of collective reasoning, which I call the publicity aspect, the collective acceptance aspect, and the historical constraint aspect: First, the premises of collective reasoning, unlike the (...) premises of a private individual, have to be public in some sense. Second, the group members collectively accept the public premises, and thereby commit themselves to following them in their collective practical reasoning.Third, a person need not be consistent with his earlier private judgements, he is free to change his mind, but prior collective judgements, if not collectively abandoned, constrain the member's future judgements and decisions. I conclude that collective practical reasoning can be accounted for without collectivist ontological commitments. (shrink)
Realism in Action is a selection of essays written by leading representatives in the fields of action theory and philosophy of mind, philosophy of the social sciences and especially the nature of social action, and of epistemology and philosophy of science. Practical reason, reasons and causes in action theory, intending and trying, and folk-psychological explanation are some of the topics discussed by these leading participants. A particular emphasis is laid on trust, commitments and social institutions, on the possibility of grounding (...) social notions in individual social attitudes, on the nature of social groups, institutions and collective intentionality, and on common belief and common knowledge. Applications to the social sciences include, e.g., a look at the Erklären-Verstehen controversy in economics, and at constructivist and realist views on archeological reconstructions of the past. (shrink)