Group Agency

Group Agency : The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents

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Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? Or are they just collections of individual agents that give a misleading impression of unity? This question is important, since the answer dictates how we should explain the behaviour of these entities and whether we should treat them as responsible and accountable on the model of individual agents. Group Agency offers a new approach to that question and is relevant, therefore, to a range of fields from philosophy to law, politics, and the social sciences. Christian List and Philip Pettit argue that there really are group or corporate agents, over and above the individual agents who compose them, and that a proper approach to the social sciences, law, morality, and politics must take account of this fact. Unlike some earlier defences of group agency, their account is entirely unmysterious in character and, despite not being technically difficult, is grounded in cutting-edge work in social choice theory, economics, and philosophy.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 250 pages
  • 158 x 236 x 24mm | 421.84g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199591563
  • 9780199591565
  • 396,757

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Review quote

Without a doubt, List and Pettit accomplish their threefold task of establishing the logical possibility of group agents, explaining the relation of design to the performance of group agents, and arguing in favour of holding these agents morally responsible ... there is a great deal to learn from this book and it ought to be required reading for anyone interested in group agency and responsibility. Zachary J. Goldberg, Universitat Regensburg, Germany, The Philosophical Quarterly Group Agency is convincing and illuminating. David-Hillel Ruben, Times Literary Supplement fascinating and enjoyable ... there is much to ponder, and much to learn from, in this lively work. Thomas H. Smith, Mind the judgement aggregation problem is a significant and neglected aspect of group agency, and List and Pettits discussion of this problem is important and enlightening. Robert Sugden, Economics and Philosophy

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About Christian List

Christian List is Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at the London School of Economics. He works in individual and social choice theory, political philosophy, and the philosophy of social science. A graduate of the University of Oxford, he held research and visiting positions at Oxford, the Australian National University, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Konstanz. He was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Philosophy, a Nuffield Foundation New Career Development Fellowship, and the 5th Social Choice and Welfare Prize, the latter two awards jointly with Franz Dietrich, for collaborative work on the theory of judgment aggregation. He is an editor of Economics and Philosophy and an associate editor of Episteme. Philip Pettit is L. S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University. He works in moral and political philosophy and on related issues in the philosophy of mind and social science. Irish by background and training, he has taught at a number of universities, most prominently at the Australian National University, and is an honorary Professor of Philosophy at Queen's Belfast and the University of Sydney. He holds a number of honorary doctorates and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2010 he won a Guggenheim fellowship and is spending 2010-11 at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral and Social Sciences, Stanford University. In 2007 Oxford University Press published Common Minds: Themes from the Philosophy of Philip Pettit, ed. by G.Brennan et al.

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