I summarize and evaluate the aims of the collection From Individual to Collective Intentionality: New Essays edited by Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks and Gerhard Preyer in the context of the on-going debate about collective intentionality and group agency. I then consider the individual essays contained therein, both from the perspective of how they advance the collection’s goals and the coherence of their individual arguments.
The question ‘Why care about being an agent?’ asks for reasons to be something that appears to be non-optional. But perhaps it is closer to the question ‘Why be moral?’; or so I shall argue. Here the constitutivist answer—that we cannot help but have this aim—seems to be the best answer available. I suggest that, regardless of whether constitutivism is true, it is an incomplete answer. I argue that we should instead answer the question by looking at our evaluative commitments (...) to the exercise of our other capacities for which being a full-blown agent is a necessary condition. Thus, the only kind of reason available is hypothetical rather than categorical. The status of this reason may seem to undermine the importance of this answer. I show, however, that it both achieves much of what we want when we cite categorical reasons and highlights why agency is valuable. (shrink)
We provide an account of chimpanzee-specific agency within the context of philosophy of action. We do so by showing that chimpanzees are capable of what we call reason-directed action, even though they may be incapable of more full-blown action, which we call reason-considered action. Although chimpanzee agency does not possess all the features of typical adult human agency, chimpanzee agency is evolutionarily responsive to their environment and overlaps considerably with our own. As such, it is an evolved set of capacities (...) for goal-directed behavior, which solves problems that chimpanzees naturally encounter. Thus, it ought not be understood as a deficient instance of human agency. (shrink)
I consider an underappreciated problem for proponents of the Humean theory of motivation. Namely, it is unclear whether is it to be understood as a largely psychological or largely metaphysical theory. I show that the psychological interpretation of HTM will need to be modified in order to be a tenable view and, as it will turn out, the modifications required render it virtually philosophically empty. I then argue that the largely metaphysical interpretation is the only a plausible interpretation of HTM's (...) central claim that desires are necessary conditions for motivation. This interpretation also fits better with the important roles that HTM plays in both moral psychological and metaethical debates. (shrink)
In recent years, collective agency and responsibility have received a great deal of attention. One exciting development concerns whether collective, non-distributive responsibility can be assigned to collective non-agents, such as crowds and nation-states. I focus on an underappreciated aspect of these arguments—namely, that they sometimes derive substantive ontological conclusions about the nature of collective agents from these responsibility attributions. I argue that this order of inference, whose form I represent in what I call the Spaghetti Western Argument, largely fails, even (...) if the cases described are all too common. I show that it does not generate a generalizable, reliable conclusion about the kind of entity that is the plausibly responsible party. In particular, a group may lack agency in a given instance, be non-distributively responsible in that same instance and yet be a collective agent across time. (shrink)
Most theories of intentional action agree that if acting for a reason is a necessary condition for the action in question to be an intentional action, the reason need not genuinely justify it. The same should hold for shared intentional action, toward which philosophers of action have recently turned their attention. I argue that some of the necessary conditions proposed for shared intention turn out to require that we deny this claim. They entail that shared intention is possible only if (...) the participating agents form their intentions on the grounds of genuinely rational considerations. Thus, they “over-rationalize,” as I call it, shared intention. (shrink)
I show that defenses of the Humean theory of motivation often rely on a mistaken assumption. They assume that desires are necessary conditions for being motivated to act because desires themselves have a special, essential, necessary feature, such as their world-to-mind direction of fit, that enables them to motivate. Call this the Desire-Necessity Claim. Beliefs cannot have this feature, so they cannot motivate. Or so the story goes. I show that: when pressed, a proponent of HTM encounters a series of (...) prima facie counterexamples to this Claim; and the set of claims that seem to naturally complement the Desire-Necessity Claim as well as provide successful responses to these counterexamples turn out to deny the truth of this same claim. As a result, the Humean implicitly grants that it is at least equally plausible, if not more plausible, to claim that desires are not able to motivate in virtue of what they necessarily possess. Instead, desires contingently possess features that enable them to motivate. (shrink)
The concept of recognition has played a role in two debates. In political philosophy, it is part of a communitarian response to liberal theories of distributive justice. It describes what it means to respect others’ right to self-determination. In ethics, Stephen Darwall argues that it comprises our judgment that we owe others moral consideration. I present a competing account of recognition on the grounds that most accounts answer the question of why others deserve recognition without answering the question of what (...) is involved in recognizing them. This paper answers the latter. I argue that, in general, recognition is something that we do to others rather than something that we think about others. In particular, recognition is an intentional action to treat another individual as a legitimate, self-determining agent. I then show that recognition's realizability requires that agents understand their intentions as dependent on others for their satisfaction. Thus, relations of recognition are instances of collective intentionality. (shrink)
Among the available metaethical views, it would seem that moral realism—in particular moral naturalism—must explain the possibility of moral progress. We see this in the oft-used argument from disagreement against various moral realist views. My suggestion in this paper is that, surprisingly, metaethical constructivism has at least as pressing a need to explain moral progress. I take moral progress to be, minimally, the opportunity to access and to act in light of moral facts of the matter, whether they are mind-independent (...) or -dependent. For the metaethical constructivist, however, I add that moral progress ought also mean that agents come to be or could come to be motivated to act in light of the right kind of moral judgments. Together I take this to mean that, for all forms of constructivism, moral progress must be explained as a form of moral improvement, or agents aspiring to be better sorts of moral agents. In what moral improvement consists differs for various forms of constructivism. Here I distinguish between three different versions of metaethical constructivism: Humean constructivists as represented by Street, Kantian constitutivist constructivists as represented by Korsgaard, and constructivists about practical reason as represented by Carla Bagnoli. I conclude by showing that only constructivism as a view about practical reason can fully account for moral progress qua the opportunity for moral improvement. (shrink)
Constitutivists explicitly emphasize the importance of self-reflection for rational agency. Interestingly enough, there is no clear account of how and why self-reflection plays such an important role for these views. My aim in this paper is to address this underappreciated problem for constitutivist views and to determine whether constitutivist self-reflection is normatively oriented. Understanding its normative features will allow us to evaluate a potential way that constitutivism may meet its purported metaethical promise. I begin by showing why constitutivism, as exemplified (...) by Korsgaard’s and Velleman’s respective views, takes self-reflection to be a constitutive feature of rational agency. Closer examination of this claim suggests three underappreciated problems for the constitutivist’s apparent reliance on self-reflection. First, we have no picture of the specific role that self-reflection plays. Second, it is unclear in what sense it is a requirement for full-fledged agency and, thereby, for self-constitution. Third, it is not clear whether it has any necessary normative features, even given the often cited moral normativity associated with constitutivism. In §1, I will address the first and second questions. §2 will be dedicated to considering the third question. (shrink)
The premise that it is logically necessary for a necessary condition of value to be valuable is sometimes used in metaethics in support of the claim that agency, or some constitutive condition of agency or action, has value for all agents. I focus on the most recent application of this premise by Caroline T. Arruda and argue that the premise is false. Despite this defect the relevant evaluative step could still work just in case of agency if an (...) additional condition were satisfied. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a growth of single-issue campaigns in western democracies and a proliferation of groups attempting to exert political influence and achieve social change. In this context, it is important to consider why individuals do or don't get involved in collective action, for example in the trade union movement and the women's movement. Social psychologists have an important contribution to make in addressing this question. The social psychological approach directly concerns the relationship between the individual and (...) society and a number of theories have been developed in the field, particularly by contemporary European researchers. Yet, surprisingly, there has never been, until now, a concerted attempt to bring these various strands of research together in a coherent, detailed presentation of the social psychological approach to collective action. The authors of _The Social Psychology of Collective Action _review and integrate a number of theories developed in this field as well as presenting their own original research and data. The research discussed in the book ranges over a number of different contexts, with a particular focus on women's groups organizing around issues of gender. Questions addressed include: why do women get involved in women's groups? What part is played by experiences of discrimination in the family and in the workplace? What are the benefits of group involvement? How are feminist activists perceived by others who choose not to get involved? Findings from questionnaires and interviews are integrated with contemporary social psychological theory, especially social identity theory. (shrink)
An important contribution to the foundations of probability theory, statistics and statistical physics has been made by E. T. Jaynes. The recent publication of his collected works provides an appropriate opportunity to attempt an assessment of this contribution.
Page generated Sat Jul 31 06:14:26 2021 on philpapers-web-65948fd446-wp78j
cache stats: hit=7336, miss=7388, save= autohandler : 1394 ms called component : 1379 ms search.pl : 1259 ms render loop : 806 ms initIterator : 450 ms addfields : 411 ms publicCats : 390 ms next : 345 ms save cache object : 80 ms menu : 68 ms retrieve cache object : 48 ms autosense : 37 ms match_cats : 33 ms prepCit : 23 ms quotes : 10 ms search_quotes : 5 ms applytpl : 4 ms match_other : 1 ms intermediate : 1 ms match_authors : 1 ms init renderer : 0 ms setup : 0 ms auth : 0 ms writelog : 0 ms