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Social Agency (PHIL 377)


Humans are agents who live in a social world. Philosophical reflection on human agency needs to include reflection both on the agency of individual human agents and on forms of social agency that involve multiple individuals. This seminar will focus on aspects of the latter.nnWhat is it for multiple individuals to think and to act together -- to engage in shared intentional/shared cooperative activity? to deliberate together? to engage in what some have called team reasoning? What kinds of social agency are characteristic of larger social organizations or groups? What would it be for larger groups themselves to be agents, ones who have their own distinctive intentions on the basis of which they act? What is the relation between these larger forms of social agency and small-scale shared cooperative activity? In all these cases how do we best understand what we are talking about when we speak of what we intend or believe and of what we are doing? Readings to be drawn from recent work of Michael Bratman, Margaret Gilbert, Christian List, Kirk Ludwig, Philip Pettit, John Searle, Scott Shapiro, and others, as well as classic work of H.L.A. Hart.nnPrerequisite: graduate standing in Philosophy or permission of instructor. 2 unit option for PhD students only; all others must enroll for 4 units.

Course ID: 
122 453
Letter or Credit/No Credit