Shared Agency, Plural Intentions, and Institutions
Prominent analytic approaches to institutional agency, including Scott Shapiro’s plan theoretic functionalism and Francesco Guala’s and Frank Hindriks’s game theoretic unified social ontology, purport to explain organized institutions (e.g. corporations and governments) as well as systematic institutions (e.g. money and property) without the need for collective attitudes among institutional participants. Moreover, while differing greatly in other respects, both views share a strong claim that shared intentions among participants in an institution are completely unnecessary to model complex institutional activity. There are a number of reasons to remain skeptical of this claim while nonetheless affirming that not all institutional actions necessarily entail collective attitudes. Moreover, denying that shared intentionality has any role to play in institutional agency comes with exceptionable philosophical costs. If it is possible to model rule-governed institutional activity without an element of shared intentionality, Guala, Hindriks, and Shapiro have not shown how.
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