This article examines two empirical research traditions—experimental economics and the social identity approach in social psychology—that may be seen as attempts to falsify and verify the theory of collective intentionality, respectively. The article argues that both approaches fail to settle the issue. However, this is not necessarily due to the alleged immaturity of the social sciences but, possibly, to the philosophical nature of intentionality and intentional action. The article shows how broadly Davidsonian action theory, including Hacking’s (...) notion of the looping effect of the human sciences, can be developed into an argument for the view that there is no theory-independent true nature of intentional action. If the Davidsonian line of thought is correct, the theory of collective intentionality is, in a sense, true if we accept the theory. Key Words: collective intentionality • experimental economics • social identity theory • Donald Davidson • Ian Hacking • constructivism • action • agency • philosophy of the social sciences. (shrink)
In this paper, we move beyond the typical focus on the role of individuals in leading social change to examine "collectivesocial entrepreneurship", the role multiple actors collaboratively play to address social problems, create new institutions, and dismantle outdated institutional arrangements. Specifically, we examine collectivesocial entrepreneurship across a diverse range of collaborative activities including movements, alliances and markets for social good. We identify resource utilization approaches and three associated sets of activities that (...) illustrate the work of collectivesocial entrepreneurs—framing, convening, and multivocality. Using illustrative case studies to examine the phenomenon, we highlight the capacity of collective action across sectors to create markets, institutions and organizations and, to derive success by resonating through embeddedness in broader social movements. (shrink)
The paper aims to clarify and scrutinize Searle"s somewhat puzzling statement that collective intentionality is a biologically primitive phenomenon. It is argued that the statement is not only meant to bring out that "collective intentionality" is not further analyzable in terms of individual intentionality. It also is meant to convey that we have a biologically evolved innate capacity for collective intentionality.The paper points out that Searle"s dedication to a strong notion of collective intentionality considerably delimits the (...) scope of his endeavor. Furthermore, evolutionary theory does not vindicate that an innate capacity for collective intentionality is a necessary precondition for cooperative behavior. 1. (shrink)
The notions 'worldview' and 'social identity' are examined to consider whether they contribute substantively to causal sequences or networks or thought clusters that result in group acts executed intentionally. ... Three proposed explanaitons of sectarian conflict or ethnic violence are analysed as examples of theories that causally link intenitonal group behaivour to the worldviews and social identities of the individual agents directly involved. But as will be shown, it is not a priori features of worldivews and identities as (...) such, but historically specific facts and contingent circumstances that need to be examined in order to explain group-motivated behaviour. Reference to worldviews and identities detract from adequate explanation. (shrink)
Mainstream game theory explains cooperation as the outcome of the interaction of agents who permanently pursue their individual goals. Amartya Sen argues instead that cooperation can only be understood by positing a type of rule-following behaviour that can be out of phase with the pursuit of individual goals, due to the existence of a collective identity. However, Sen does not clarify the ontological preconditions for the type of social behaviour he describes. I will argue that Sen's account of (...)collective identity can be best interpreted in the light of John Searle's notion of collective intentionality, while Sen's explanation of rule-following behavior and agency is best understood using the critical realist transformational model of social activity. (shrink)
This volume presents a systematic philosophical theory related to the collectivism-versus-individualism debate in the social sciences. A weak version of collectivism (the "we-mode" approach) that depends on group-based collective intentionality is developed in the book. The we-mode approach is used to account for collective intention and action, cooperation, group attitudes, social practices and institutions as well as group solidarity.
It is possible to reveal and to examine the collective and social fields of consciousness experimentally. An account is given of planned experiments based on quantitative calculations, which indicate that the effects of individual and collective fields of consciousness on matter may elicit directly observable physical results. Moreover, it is shown that collective coherent consciousness fields may enhance the physical effects of consciousness at a significant rate. The predicted results have a significance in our picture of (...) our consciousness, in self-assertion and dynamising of consciousness, the expansion of collective fields of consciousness, and thus the raising of the level of consciousness for humanity. (shrink)
The article makes four interrelated claims: (1) The mechanism approach to social explanation does not presuppose a commitment to the individual-level microfoundationalism. (2) The microfoundationalist requirement that explanatory social mechanisms should always consists of interacting individuals has given rise to problematic methodological biases in social research. (3) It is possible to specify a number of plausible candidates for social macro-mechanisms where interacting collective agents (e.g. formal organizations) form the core actors. (4) The distributed cognition perspective (...) combined with organization studies could provide us with explanatory understanding of the emergent cognitive capacities of collective agents. (shrink)
The literature on collective action largely ignores the constraints that moral principle places on action-prompting intentions. Here I suggest that neither individualism nor holism can account for the generality of intentional contents demanded by universalizability principles, respect for persons, or proactive altruism. Utilitarian and communitarian ethics are criticized for nominalism with respect to social intentions. The failure of individualism and holism as grounds for moral theory is confirmed by comparing Tuomela's reductivist analysis of we-intentions with Gilbert's analysis of (...)social facts. Tuomela's account founders over intentions to cooperate, and Gilbert's cannot accommodate legitimate authority, vicarious agency, or group structure. (shrink)
This article aims to contribute to a critical ontology of social objects. Recent works on collective intentionality and norm-following neglect the question how free agents can be brought to collectively intend to x , although x is not in their own interest. By arguing for a natural disposition to empathic understanding and drawing on recent research in the neurosciences, this article outlines an ontological framework that extends collective intentionality to questions of oppression and status asymmetries. In a (...) contribution to this journal, Wisnewski (2005) unfortunately mischaracterizes the problem of meaning in social criticism. Implementing status problems in studies of collective intentions and construing social facts as both subjective and objective in character helps explain why agents can have persistent "misunderstandings" of social objects. (shrink)
The paper presents an account of social institutions on the basis of collective acceptance. Basically, collective acceptance by some members of a group involves the members’ collectively coming to hold and holding a relevant social attitude (a “we-attitude”), viz. either one in the intention family of concepts or one in the belief family. In standard cases the collective acceptance must be in the “we-mode”, viz. performed as a group member, and involve that it be meant (...) for the group. The participants must be collectively committed to what they have accepted. Social institutions are taken to be norm-governed social practices introducing a new social and conceptual status on the practices or some elements involved in those practices. This requires that some of the involved norms be constitutive norms as opposed to merely “accidentally” regulating ones. A classification of social institutions is presented. The account is broader in scope than is Searle’s. (shrink)
In the Sociology of Emotion and Affect Studies, affects are usually regarded as an aspect of human beings alone, or of impersonal or collective atmospheres. However, feelings and emotions are only specific cases of affectivity that require subjective inner selves, while the concept of ‘atmospheres’ fails to explain the singularity of each individual case. This article develops a theory of social affect that does not reduce affect to either personal feelings or collective emotions. First, I use a (...) Spinozist understanding of the ‘body’ to conceptualize the receptivity and mutual constitution of bodies, to show how affects do not ‘belong’ to anybody; they are not solely attributable either to the human or to any kind of body alone, but emerge in situations of the encounter and interaction . Next I build upon Jean-Marie Guyau’s concept of transmissions to show how we can theorize affect as an emerging transmission between and among bodies. Finally, I demonstrate how we now have a complete conceptual frame for theorizing affect in relation to all bodies in any given social scene, the grand composition of which I call affectif. (shrink)
In this paper I will discuss a certain philosophical and conceptual program -- that I have called philosophy of social action writ large -- and also show in detail how parts of the program have been, and is currently being carried out. In current philosophical research the philosophy of social action can be understood in a broad sense to encompass such central research topics as action occurring in a social context (this includes multi-agent action); shared we-attitudes (such (...) as we-intention, mutual belief) and other social attitudes expressing collective intentionality and needed for the explication and explanation of social action; social macro-notions, such as actions performed by social groups and properties of social groups such as their goals and beliefs; social practices, and institutions (see e.g. Tuomela, 1995, 2000a, 2001). The theory of social action understood analogously in a broad sense would then involve not only philosophical but all other relevant theorizing about social action. Thus, in this sense, such fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as Distributed AI (DAI) and the theory of Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) fall within the scope of the theory of social action. DAI studies the social side of computer systems and includes various well-known areas ranging from human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, organizational processing, and distributed problem solving to the simulation of social systems. (shrink)
This article demonstrates how Adorno and Horkheimer’s turn to psychoanalytic concepts like sublimation and intra-psychic conflict strengthened critical theory. The piecemeal collective psychology they produced was used to understand fascism and anti-Semitism. But the full significance of these psychoanalytic explanations was concealed by Adorno, who elsewhere denied the possibility of psychology proper after the death of the individual. Adorno and Horkheimer’s underhanded borrowing from psychoanalysis for social analysis had the effect of filtering collective psychology through the lens (...) of regression. To amend this, the article analyzes psychoanalytic explanations from an interpretive perspective, building upon Jessica Benjamin’s psychoanalytic feminism, to contest the tactics of immanent criticism and to revitalize the project of a less dystopic collective psychology. (shrink)
This paper outlines, from a sociological and social psychological perspective, a theoretical framework with which to define and analyse consciousness, emphasizing the importance of language, collective representations, conceptions of self, and self-reflectivity in understanding human consciousness. It argues that the shape and feel of consciousness is heavily social, and this is no less true of our experience of collective consciousness than it is of our experience of individual consciousness. The paper is divided into two parts. Part (...) One argues that the problem of consciousness can be approached fruitfully by beginning with human group and collective phenomena: community, language, language-based communication, institutional and cultural arrangements, collective representations, self-conceptions, and self-referentiality. A collective is understood as a group or population of individuals that possesses or develops collective representations of itself: its values and goals, its structure and modes of operating, its strategies, developments, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Collective reflectivity emerges as a function of an organization or group producing and making use of collective representations of the self in its discussions, critical reflections, and planning. A collective monitors its activities, achievements and failures, and reflects on itself as a defined and on-going collective being. In this perspective, human consciousness is understood as a type of reflective activity: observing, monitoring, judging and re-orienting and re-organizing self; considering what characterizes the self, what self perceives, judges, could do, should do . The reflectivity is encoded in language and developed in conversations about collective selves. Part Two of the paper applies the framework to analysing the individual experience of consciousness, self-representation, self-reference, self-reflectivity and self-development. (shrink)
Many social properties and notions are collectively made. Two collectively created aspects of the social world have been emphasized in recent literature. The first is that of the performative character of many social things (entities, properties). The second is the reflexive nature of many social concepts. The present account adds to this list a third feature, the collective availability or “for-groupness” of collectivesocial items. It is a precise account of social notions (...) and social facts in terms of collective appearance. The collective acceptance account has ontological implications in that it accepts mind-independent, group-dependent, and simply mind-dependent social facts. (shrink)
Stereotypes of social construction suggest that the existence of social constructs is accidental and that such constructs have arbitrary and subjective features. In this paper, I explore a conception of social construction according to which it consists in the collective imposition of function onto reality and show that, according to this conception, these stereotypes are incorrect. In particular, I argue that the collective imposition of function onto reality is typically non-accidental and that the products of (...) such imposition frequently have non-arbitrary and objective features. These conclusions are interesting in and of themselves since they debunk important aspects of our socially constructed conception of social construction. Yet, additionally, they have important implications for the viability of mathematical social constructivism since resistance to such constructivism is frequently grounded in the observation that mathematics is non-accidental, non-arbitrary, and objective. As a secondary focus, I explore these implications in this paper. (shrink)
This is a systematic philosophical and conceptual study of the notion of a social practice. Raimo Tuomela explains social practices in terms of the interlocking mental states of the agents; he shows how social practices are 'building blocks of society'; and he offers a clear and powerful account of the way in which social institutions are constructed from these building blocks as established, interconnected sets of social practices with a special new social status. His (...) analysis is based on the novel concept of shared 'we-attitudes', which represent a weak form of collective intentionality, and he makes instructive connections to major topics and figures in philosophy and the social sciences. His book will be of interest to a wide range of readers in philosophy of mind, philosophy of social science, psychology and sociology, and artificial intelligence. (shrink)
This paper discusses supportive neurological and social evidence for 'collective consciousness', here understood as a shared sense of being together with others in a single or unified experience. Mirror neurons in the premotor and posterior parietal cortices respond to the intentions as well as the actions of other individuals. There are also mirror neurons in the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortices which have been implicated in empathy. Many authors have considered the likely role of such mirror systems (...) in the development of uniquely human aspects of sociality including language. Though not without criticism, Menant has made the case that mirror-neuron assisted exchanges aided the original advent of self-consciousness and intersubjectivity. Combining these ideas with social mirror theory it is not difficult to imagine the creation of similar dynamical patterns in the emotional and even cognitive neuronal activity of individuals in human groups, creating a feeling in which the participating members experience a unified sense of consciousness. Such instances pose a kind of 'binding problem' in which participating individuals exhibit a degree of 'entanglement'. (shrink)
In this paper I propose that what social psychologists refer to as social identity is a plausible empirical correlate on the part of the individual to what some philosophers and economists call collective intention. A discussion of an experiment yields the question what kind of mental state social identity might be and how it is related to the standard desire/belief conception. It is argued that social identity involves both a desire and a belief, and that (...) one distinguishing feature of it is that it makes individual choice parametric. (shrink)
A perspective is developed for approaching affliction as a social fact. Disability and disease are considered as two ways in which we suffer a disjunction which arises from the need to take initiative with respect to the inexorable, whether that means the mark of disability or the unconquerability of disease.The story of affliction always raises and masks in certain respects the problem of suffering as the collective representation of our experience of subjectivity where that experience passes through the (...) separateness of being marked to the singularity of being without hope. (shrink)
Dixon et al. suggest that the psychological literature on intergroup relations should shift from theorizing to A focus on social change exposes the importance of psychological theories involving collective phenomena like social norms and institutions. Individuals' attitudes and emotions may follow, rather than cause, changes in social norms and institutional arrangements.
The paper seeks to draw out the connections between social capital, collective intelligence and expansive learning, interrogating the terms for their progressive potential. It sets these concepts within their socio-economic context, one which asserts that the development of social capital will be a vehicle for economic regeneration and competitiveness as well as a mechanism for the generation of social inclusion and cohesion. It concludes by arguing that the debate is set within a context that accepts capitalist (...) relations and that this places a limit on the progressive potential of social capital, collective intelligence and expansive learning. (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)
This book brings together the most important theoretical work of James S. Coleman on problems of collective action. Coleman's work has formed a consistent and highly distinguished attempt to find an account of the workings of social and political processes rooted in the rationality of the individual participants. The chapters address in various ways the fundamental Hobbesian problem of order; the question of how a set of self-interested individuals can arrive at some kind of social order. The (...) volume is organised in three parts. The essays in Part I address the problem of social choice as a fundamental problem of the functioning of social systems. Those in Part II deal with relations of power as a crucial aspect of the relations between individual actions and their social consequences. Part III considers the question of the creation of collectivities and the rights that are allocated under them. As a whole, the volume demonstrates the integration and force of the views Coleman has developed. (shrink)
Left freely to themselves, a group of rational individuals often fail to cooperate even when the product of social cooperation is beneficial to all. Hence, the author argues, a rule of collective decision making is clearly needed that specifies how social cooperation should be organised among contributing individuals. Suzumura gives a systematic presentation of the Arrovian impossibility theorems of social choice theory, so as to describe and enumerate the various factors that are responsible for the stability (...) of the voluntary association of free and rational individuals. Among other topics covered are an axiomatic characterisation of the concept of a rational choice, the simple majority decision rule and its extensions, the social choice implications of the concept of equity as nonenvy, the constrained majoritarian collective choice rules and the conflict between the Paretian ethics and the libertarian claims of individual rights. (shrink)
This paper clarifies Searle's account of we-intentions and then argues that it is subject to counterexamples, some of which are derived from examples Searle uses against other accounts. It then offers an alternative reductive account that is not subject to the counterexamples.
In everyday discourse and in the context of social scientific research we often attribute intentional states to groups. Contemporary approaches to group intentionality have either dismissed these attributions as metaphorical or provided an analysis of our attributions in terms of the intentional states of individuals in the group.Insection1, the author argues that these approaches are problematic. In sections 2 and 3, the author defends the view that certain groups are literally intentional agents. In section 4, the author argues that (...) there are significant reasons for social scientists and philosophers of social science to acknowledge the adequacy of macro-level explanations that involve the attribution of intentional states to groups. In section 5, the author considers and responds to some criticisms of the thesis she defends. (shrink)
This book offers original accounts of a number of central social phenomena, many of which have received little if any prior philosophical attention. These phenomena include social groups, group languages, acting together, collective belief, mutual recognition, and social convention. In the course of developing her analyses Gilbert discusses the work of Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Max Weber, David Lewis, among others.
The purpose of this article is to provide a critical examination of two aspects of culture and biomedicine that have helped to shape the meaning and practice of genetic testing for breast cancer. These are: (1) the cultural construction of fear of breast cancer, which has been fuelled in part by (2) the predominance of a ‘risk’ paradigm in contemporary biomedicine. The increasing elaboration and delineation of risk factors and risk numbers are in part intended to help women to contend (...) with their fear of breast cancer. However, because there is no known cure or foolproof prevention for breast cancer, risk designations bring with them recommendations for vigilant surveillance strategies and screening guidelines. We argue that these in effect exacerbate women’s fears of breast cancer itself. The volatile combination of discourses of fear, risk and surveillance have significant ethical and social consequences for women’s lives and well-being. Genetic testing decisions are made within this context; if nurses understand this context they can play an important role in helping women to cope with the anxiety and fear of breast cancer risk. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to provide a critical examination of two aspects of culture and biomedicine that have helped to shape the meaning and practice of genetic testing for breast cancer. These are: the cultural construction of fear of breast cancer, which has been fuelled in part by the predominance of a ‘risk’ paradigm in contemporary biomedicine. The increasing elaboration and delineation of risk factors and risk numbers are in part intended to help women to contend with their (...) fear of breast cancer. However, because there is no known cure or foolproof prevention for breast cancer, risk designations bring with them recommendations for vigilant surveillance strategies and screening guidelines. We argue that these in effect exacerbate women’s fears of breast cancer itself. The volatile combination of discourses of fear, risk and surveillance have significant ethical and social consequences for women’s lives and well-being. Genetic testing decisions are made within this context; if nurses understand this context they can play an important role in helping women to cope with the anxiety and fear of breast cancer risk. (shrink)
This work provides a game theoretical analysis of the classical idea of a social contract. According to what we might call the Hobbesian justification of the state, coercion is necessary in order to provide people with basic security and to enable them to successfully engage in mutually beneficial cooperation. The establishment and maintenance of a central coercive power, i.e. a state, can therefore be said to be in everyone's interest. The aim of this essay is to examine and evaluate (...) these claims. It is common to interpret the problem of cooperation in a Hobbesian state of nature as a Prisoner's Dilemma game. In this kind of game, each agent prefers that cooperation is brought about, but each also prefers not to cooperate herself, regardless of what others do. Most studies, however, have focused on the prospects for spontaneous cooperation in the 2-player PD. This work focuses instead on the generalized, n-player version of the same game. Invoking an evolutionary game theoretical model, it is argued that the prospects for spontaneous cooperation to emerge in an n-player PD are much worse than in the 2-player case. In order to analyze how the existence of sanctions might affect the prospects for cooperation, a model of a limited sanction system is developed. It is demonstrated that the game that emerges when an n-player PD is modified by a suitable system of sanctions is an n-player version of what Sen has called an Assurance game. It is also demonstrated that in this game, unlike the n-player PD, general cooperation is evolutionarily stable. It is also discussed whether the establishment and maintenance of such a sanction system does itself constitute an n-player PD. It is argued that it does not. (shrink)
Theater production is a collaborative creative activity. Social creativity recognizes the relationships between creative groups and the contexts in which creativity emerges. It also suggests that the interactive processes between the collaborators and their work form a center, which in turn becomes a kind of creative entity itself. An evolving systems case study of production practices at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival illuminates this process and illustrates the differences between seeing an aggregate creative activity and the more holistic view, in (...) which the artwork functions like another person, a creature in dialogue with the personality of the creative system. (shrink)
To be pertinent to democratic practice, collective choice functions need not apply to all possible constellations of individual preference, but only to those that are humanly possible in an appropriate sense. The present paper develops a theory of humanly possible preference within the context of the mathematical theory of learning. The theory of preference is then exploited in an attempt to resolve Arrow's voting paradox through restriction of the domain of majoritarian choice functions.
This article explores the tension between competing discourses within the European Union, as this regional trading bloc seeks to capture further gains from market integration, whilst simultaneously attempting to soften the social impact of regional competition within its borders. This article analyzes the difficulty of maintaining the European social model, or a revised version of it, in the context of increased market integration. Through a close reading of two cases decided by the European Court of Justice in 2007, (...) the article interrogates the extent to which discourses on social rights at the EU level can be made sufficiently robust to ensure the application of international or national labor standards as a buttress against increasingly mobile capital, in order to prevent “social dumping." It concludes, however, that the terms on which the foundational texts of the EU integration project operate—elevating “market" rights to equal, fundamental, status with social and labor rights—means that the exercise of social rights such as the right to strike is ultimately contingent on their compatibility with market integration. (shrink)
This textbook provides a survey of the literature of social choice. It integrates the ethical aspects of the subject, with positive aspects of decision mechanisms that centre on the revelation of true preferences. The literature on the subject presently consists of a great many papers. This book draws them together in common notation and points out interpretations which are often missing in specialist papers. Applications in economics, electoral politics, and ethics are discussed. The book will be used by senior (...) undergraduate and graduate students of economics, political science and philosophy as a text book in the subject. (shrink)