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April 13 , 2010

Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents

Contributions to Social Ontology


The contributions gathered in this volume present the state of the art in key areas of current social ontology. They focus on the role of collective intentional states in creating social facts, and on the nature of intentional properties of groups that allow characterizing them as responsible agents, or perhaps even as persons. Many of the essays are inspired by contemporary action theory, emotion theory, and theories of collective intentionality. Another group of essays revisits early phenomenological approaches to social ontology and accounts of sociality that draw on the Hegelian idea of recognition.

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This volume is organized into three parts. First, the volume discusses themes highlighted in John Searle’s work and addresses questions concerning the relation between intentions and the deontic powers of institutions, the role of disagreement, and the nature of collective intentionality. Next, the book focuses on joint and collective emotions and mutual recognition, and then goes on to explore the scope and limits of group agency, or group personhood, especially the capacity for responsible agency.

The variety of philosophical traditions mirrored in this collection provides readers with a rich and multifaceted survey of present research in social ontology. It will help readers deepen their understanding of three interrelated and core topics in social ontology: the constitution and structure of institutions, the role of shared evaluative attitudes, and the nature and role of group agents.

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