Intentional Collective Action

Tracy Isaacs

in Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199782963
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897117 | DOI:
Intentional Collective Action

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The central aim of this chapter is to establish that collectives may have intentions and are capable of collective action. This claim is crucial to the broader claim that moral responsibility operates at both the individual and the collective level, which in turn rests on the claim that intentional action also operates on two levels, the individual and the collective. This chapter distinguishes between two types of collective agents—organizations and goal-oriented collectives—and gives an account of their respective intentional structures. It defends the view that collective intentions, from which the agency of collectives derives, are not simply collections of individual intentions, and collective actions are not simply collections of individual actions. Collective actions are the products of the intentions of collectives.

Keywords: collective action; collective intention; collective agency; collective moral responsibility; collective agent

Chapter.  9008 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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