Christian List

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Group agency and social ontology | go back to projects

Can groups be agents over and above their members? In a jointly authored book with Philip Pettit, I address this question.

We suggest that good social-scientific methodology often requires the ascription of intentional states to groups (not merely to individuals), but we also argue that group agency has 'individualistic' foundations.

We further ask what the recognition of group agency implies for various normative questions, for example about responsibility, group personhood, and identification.

In separate work, I have explored the nature of collective attitudes (collective beliefs and desires), the debate about methodological individualism versus holism, and the phenomenon of group consciousness.


What is it like to be a group agent? Nous (forthcoming)

Three kinds of collective attitudes, Erkenntnis 79(9, Suppl.): 1601-1622, 2014

Methodological Individualism and Holism in Political Science: A Reconciliation (with K. Spiekermann), American Political Science Review 107(4): 629-643, 2013

Episteme Symposium on Group Agency: Replies to Gaus, Cariani, Sylvan, and Briggs (with P. Pettit), Episteme 9(3): 293-309, 2012

Group Agency: The Possibility, Design and Status of Corporate Agents (with Philip Pettit), Oxford University Press, 2011, 2013 (paperback)

=> Oxford Scholarship Online, Browse

Group Agency and Supervenience (with Philip Pettit), Southern Journal of Philosophy XLIV (Spindel Supplement): 85-105, 2006; reprinted in J. Hohwy and J. Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2008

Group knowledge and group rationality: a judgment aggregation perspective, Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology 2(1): 25-38, 2005

On the Many as One (with Philip Pettit), Philosophy and Public Affairs 33(4): 377-390, 2005

Other papers

Collective wisdom: a judgment aggregation perspective, in Helene Landemore and Jon Elster (eds.), Collective Wisdom: Principles and Mechanisms, 2012

Distributed Cognition: A Perspective from Social Choice Theory, in M. Albert, D. Schmidtchen and S. Voigt (eds.), Scientific Competition: Theory and Policy, Conferences on New Political Economy vol. 24, Tuebingen (Mohr Siebeck), 2008


Last modified May 2016

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