often do things together and form groups in order to get things done that they cannot
do alone. In short they form a collectivity of some kind or a group, for short.
But if we consider a group on the one hand and the persons that constitute the
group on the other hand, how does it happen that these persons work together
and finish a common task with a common goal? In the philosophy of action this
problem is often solved by saying that there is a kind of collective intention
that the group members have in mind and that guides their actions. Does such a
collective intention really exist? In this article Iíll show that the answer is
ďnoĒ. In order to substantiate my view Iíll discuss the approaches of Bratman,
Gilbert and Searle on collective intention. Iíll put forward four kinds of
criticism that undermine the idea of collective intention. They apply mainly to
Bratman and Gilbert. First, it is basically difficult to mark off smaller groups
from bigger unities. Second, most groups change in membership composition over
time. Third, as a rule, on the one hand groups are internally structured and on
the other hand they belong to a larger structure. It makes that generally it cannot
be collective intention that moves the actions of the members of a group. Fourth,
conversely, most individual actions cannot be performed without the existence
of a wider context of agents who support these actions and make them possible.
collective intention, collective intentionality, collective action, we-intention, shared agency, shared action,joint action, joint commitment, individual action, action, structuration, structuration theory, Bratman, Gilbert, Searle, Giddens.
Click here for the full text in pdf: full text