Eliminating Group Agency

Economics and Philosophy 39 (1):43-66 (2023)
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Aggregating individuals’ consistent attitudes might produce inconsistent collective attitudes. Some groups therefore need the capacity to form attitudes that are irreducible to those of their members. Such groups, group-agent realists argue, are agents in control of their own attitude formation. In this paper, however, I show how group-agent realism overlooks the important fact that groups consist of strategically interacting agents. Only by eliminating group agency from our social explanations can we see how individuals vote strategically to gain control of their groups and produce collective attitudes we cannot make sense of if we treat groups as agents.

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Lars Moen
University of Vienna

Citations of this work

Collectivizing Public Reason.Lars J. K. Moen - 2024 - Social Theory and Practice 50 (2):285–306.
Groups as fictional agents.Lars J. K. Moen - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
Against Corporate Responsibility.Lars J. K. Moen - 2024 - Journal of Social Philosophy 55 (1):44–61.
Collective Agency and Positive Political Theory.Lars Moen - 2024 - Journal of Theoretical Politics 36 (1):83–98.
Do group agents have free will?Christian List - 2023 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Group agency: the possibility, design, and status of corporate agents.Christian List & Philip Pettit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Philip Pettit.
Real patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.

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