Lynne Rudder Baker’s paper offers a sustained argument for what a number of people might have thought before and even proposed informally: Humans persons are social entities and therefore should be taken to be a part of social ontology.
Here is the Abstract of the paper:
The aim of this article is to show that human persons belong, ontologically, in social ontology. After setting out my views on ontology, I turn to persons and argue that they have first-person perspectives in two stages (rudimentary and robust) essentially. Then I argue that the robust stage of the first-person perspective is social, in that it requires a language, and languages require linguistic communities. Then I extend the argument to cover the rudimentary stage of the first-person perspective as well. I conclude by enumerating ways in which human persons differ from nonhuman animals.
Baker’s argument for this makes heavy use of her other works in metaphysics and especially those on personality. The main concepts are explained in this paper, but many questions might be left open, which can be answered by consulting her other work. As I see it, the outcome is a paper in which Baker justifies a thought, the thought that human persons are social entities, that is in the air by integrating the though into her own metaphysical system.
I continue with my discussion of four paper on Hegel’s theory of the state as presented in his Philosophy of Rightby discussing the last two papers. For the first two papers by Riedel and Sedgwick see this post. The papers I discuss this time are by Hans-Martin Jaeger and Thom Brooks.
Jaeger, Hans-Martin. 2002: “Hegel’s Reluctant Realism and the Transnationalisation of Civil Society”. In: Review of International Studies. Volume 28. Issue 3. 497-517.
Brooks, Thom. 2004. “Hegel’s Theory of International Politics: A Reply to Jaeger”. In: Review of International Studies. Volume 30. Issue 1. 149-152.
Pettit, Philip. 2003: “Groups with Minds of Their Own”. In: Schmitt, Frederick F. (ed.). Socializing Metaphysics. Rowman & Littlefield. Lanham. 167-193.
For my research on group agency I have read many texts by Philip Pettit, this book chapter, however, escaped my attention so far, so it was time to catch up. The basic idea is familiar to everyone who has read others texts on group agency by Pettit, especially the book Group Agency which Pettit co-authored with Christian List. In “Groups with Minds of Their Own” Pettit puts the basic idea the following way:
“Rational unity is a constrain that binds the attitudes of the collectivity at any time and across different times, and the satisfaction of that constrain means that those attitudes cannot be smoothly continuous with the corresponding attitudes of members.” (p. 184)
Pettit claims that groups face a pressure to meet certain constrains, but that to meet these constrains, it is often necessary that the attitudes of the group cannot be continuous, or at least not smoothly continuous, with that of the members. The decisions a group makes can in appropriate situations bind it to basic norms of rationality like coherence over time, which pushes the group to accept attitudes, notably representational and motivational attitudes, which are not shared by the majority of the member and in some cases by no members at all. Continue reading “What I Am Reading: Pettit – Groups with Minds of Their Own”