I adapt an old example of Frank Jackson's, in order to show that it is not only possible that actions with different individual agents are sub-optimal when each is not, but that they are impermissible when each is not, and blameworthy when each is not.
I compare Bratman’s theory with Gilbert’s. I draw attention to their similarities, query Bratman’s claim that his theory is the more parsimonious, and point to one theoretical advantage of Gilbert’s theory.
Nozick provides us with a compelling characterization of romantic love, but, as I argue, he under-describes the phenomenon, for he fails to distinguish it from attitudes that those who are not romantically involved may bear to each other. Frankfurt also offers a compelling characterization of love, but he is sceptical about its application to the case of romantic love. I argue that each account has the resources with which to complete the other. I consider a preliminary synthesis of the two (...) accounts, which I find wanting. The synthesis I then favour relies upon two thoughts: each romantic partner has loving concern for a plural object viz. the two of them, and romantic partners are, in addition, beloved of a plural subject, viz. the two of them. A corollary is that Frankfurt is wrong to think that, whilst self-love is a pure form of love, romantic love is an impure form of love, for romantic love just is a form of self-love. In an appendix, I defend the coherence of the thought that love can have plural relata. (shrink)
The consensus in the philosophical literature on joint action is that, sometimes at least, when agents intentionally jointly φ, this is explicable by their intending that they φ, for a period of time prior to their φ-ing. If this be granted, it poses a dilemma. For agents who so intend either severally or jointly intend that they φ. The first option is ruled out by two stipulations that we may consistently make: (i) that at least one of the agents non-akratically (...) believes that, all things considered, the agents ought not to φ, and (ii) that an agent is akratic, if she intends a thing that she believes, all things considered, ought not to be done. But the second option seems to entail the existence of a mental state with multiple subjects, which, in turn, seems to commit us to the existence of a group mind modified by that state: an incautious posit to say the least. I resolve the dilemma by noting that ‘They jointly intend’ is indeterminate between ‘They intend, jointly’, which does indeed entail that some mental state is an intention with multiple subjects, and ‘Jointly, they intend’, which entails a weaker claim, viz. that some mental state or states is an intention with multiple subjects. I then sketch an account of how a plurality of mental states, distributed among subjects, might, collectively, do service as their intention that they φ. It makes novel use of notions of participation and of doing a thing jointly with others. A corollary is that either intentions are not attitudes towards propositions, or propositions are individuated more finely than is often assumed. (shrink)
This chapter concerns the ethics and metaphysics of occupations, such as teacher, waiter, and priest. It argues that teacher is a functional kind, but teachers are not functional objects. If you are a practising teacher, it is likely that you perform a function and serve a purpose, that of imparting knowledge and cultivating minds and skills. This is what teachers, generically, are for, and it is what your school is for. But it is not what you are for. Easily confused (...) senses of ‘job’ are distinguished: occupation, position, requirement, and function. The chapter explains that the requirements of your position and occupation do not entail ability, reasons, or fault (if not complied with), and that if you are not as your position and occupation require, you are not as you ought to be, but it does not follow that there is anything wrong with you. The chapter includes some metaphysical speculation about positions, and examines some sources of, and remedies for, workplace alienation and anxiety. (shrink)
It is not obvious how one might reconcile Frege's claim that different numbers may not 'belong to the same thing' with his apparent identification of one pair with two boots, even if one grants his view of 'statements of number'. I suggest a way. It requires some revision of the semantic theory that is generally attributed to Frege.
I defend some of Gilbert’s central claims about our capacity jointly to commit ourselves, and what follows from an exercise of it. I argue that, to explain these claims, we do not need to suppose, as Gilbert does, that we ever are jointly committed, that is, jointly in a state of being committed. I offer a diagnosis of why the gratuitousness of this supposition has been overlooked.
I address what I call the Number Issue, which is raised by our ordinary talk and beliefs about certain social groups and institutions, and I take the Hallé orchestra as my example. The Number Issue is that of whether the Hallé is one individual or several individuals. I observe that if one holds that it is one individual, one faces an accusation of metaphysical extravagance. The bulk of the paper examines the difficulty of reconciling the view that the Hallé is (...) several individuals with two prima facie plausible theses about the manner of its persistence through time. The paper is structured around some remarks made by Peter Simons about groups, and the Hallé in particular, in his 'Parts'. (shrink)