Group Agency and Individualism

Erkenntnis 79 (S9):1663-1684 (2014)
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Abstract

Pettit and List argue for realism about group agency, while at the same time try to retain a form of metaphysical and normative individualism on which human beings qualify as natural persons. This is an unstable and untenable combination of views. A corrective is offered here, on which realism about group agency leads us to the following related conclusions: in cases of group agency, the sort of rational unity that defines individual rational unity is realized at the level of a whole group; rational unity is never a metaphysical given but always a product of effort and will; just as it can be realized within groups of human beings it can also be realized within parts of human beings, as well as within whole human lives; in cases of group agency, the rational unity that is achieved at the level of the group typically precludes rational unity at the level of its human constituents within their whole lives, though it can be realized within parts of those human lives. Along the way, a contrast is drawn between cases of genuine group agency and the cases of political agency envisaged by Rousseau and Rawls (and by Pettit and List) which leave individual human beings intact as separate agents in their own rights

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Carol Rovane
Columbia University

Citations of this work

Cultural appropriation and the intimacy of groups.C. Thi Nguyen & Matthew Strohl - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):981-1002.
I, Volkswagen.Stephanie Collins - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (2):283-304.

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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.
Social Choice and Individual Values.Irving M. Copi - 1952 - Science and Society 16 (2):181-181.
Social Choice and Individual Values.Kenneth Joseph Arrow - 1951 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley: New York.
The metaphysics and ethics of relativism.Carol A. Rovane - 2013 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

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