Christian List and Philip Pettit

in Group Agency

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199591565
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725494 | DOI:

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This introduction sketches the common eliminativist view that there are no group agents, describes the realist alternative defended in the book, and shows that this view stands midway between two other forms of realism about group agents. One is the Hobbesian view that group agents exist just in virtue of the authorization of a spokesperson, the other the romantic view that they exist in virtue of the animation of members by a higher force. The view defended is a substantial realism, unlike the Hobbesian, but an individualistic realism — a realism that postulates no higher forces — unlike the romantic. The introduction ends with an explanation of why this substantial, individualistic realism about group agents has important implications for the pursuit of positive social science and normative social theory.

Keywords: group agency; eliminativism; realism; Hobbes; authorization; animation; positive theory; normative theory

Chapter.  7948 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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