Talk in Milan: Homuncularism and Group Agency

As mentioned in a previous post, I will give a talk on homuncularism and group agency in Milan tomorrow. More information on the workshop, which is about cognition in groups, can be found on the website of the organisers.

There are two ideal types of talks: There are talks where you already have a full paper before you apply and then try to tour the world with your paper. And there are talks where you submit a vague abstract and then try to figure out what you are actually saying. My talk in Milan falls into the latter category. If you plan to attend and hope to hear me talk exactly about what I promised in the abstract, you are in for a disappointment. Continue reading “Talk in Milan: Homuncularism and Group Agency”

Workshop: Cognition in Groups

On the 31st of March I will present at a workshop in Milan on Cognition in Groups. My topic will be homuncularism and group agency. More specifically, I will talk about how the homuncularism objection might and might not apply to theories of group agency.

More information on the workshop and my talk can be found on the website of the organisers.


Published: Gruppen als Akteure

An essay of mine on group agency has been published on Soziopolis. Soziopolis is a platform for sociologists and other social scientists maintained by the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. My essay tries to convey the relevant implications of theories of groups agency, especially the proposal by List and Pettit, for the social sciences.

The essay is in German, which limits its readership on the one hand, but on the other hand the analytic debate on group agency has received less attention there so far. I hope I can contribute to changing this.

The first paragraph:

Die Beschäftigung mit Fragen des Gruppenhandelns – etwa danach, ob Organisationen zielorientiert handeln, Klassen genuine gesellschaftliche Akteure sind oder Staaten Handlungsfähigkeit besitzen – hat in der Soziologie eine lange Tradition. Dabei ist jedoch umstritten, ob Gruppen als irreduzible Akteure tatsächlich dasselbe Gewicht für soziologische Erklärungen haben wie Individuen, insbesondere, ob Gruppen dieselbe irreduzible kausale Rolle einnehmen. Können die Handlungen von Gruppen also Tatsachen kausal erklären, ohne dass eine individualistische Reduktion auch nur im Prinzip möglich wäre?

More here.

Upcoming Talk: Corporations as Group Agents

Next week (on the 16th of June) I am going to present a paper on corporations as group agents at the 3rd International Conference Economic Philosophy in Aix-en-Provence. In the paper I am going to discuss the specific problems one faces when on tries to take corporations as group agents.

I am afraid that if you have not registered yet for the Conference, it is too late for that now. However, I hope that at some point my thoughts on this topic will have matured enough that they can be published.

Research Visit in Münster

I am currently in Münster for a research visit, where I am a guest of professor Quante, who has produced important work on Hegel’s theory of action. Today I gave a talk discussing the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for group agency. I received some valuable feedback, which is going to help me to specify the conditions of group agency I argue for in my thesis better. I am not quite satisfied with the account offered by List and Pettit and try to figure out what is lacking from their account.

Today before my talk on group agency
Today before my talk on group agency

Continue reading “Research Visit in Münster”

Reading List: Analytic Metaphysics for Sociologists

When one tries to seriously work interdisciplinary orientation often becomes difficult, because for most human beings it is not feasible to read all of the top publications in two disciplines. I know this from my own experience in the case of philosophy and sociology. Accordingly most sociologists who are interested in taking philosophical findings into account, will have a hard time doing so. For this reason I put together a reading list, which offers some orientation for sociologists which are interested in analytic metaphysics. I am construing the label “analytic metaphysics” broadly and also include texts, which argue for the existence of group agents. Continue reading “Reading List: Analytic Metaphysics for Sociologists”