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Collective Goals

An outcome is a collective goal of two or more actions involving multiple agents just if the actions are directed to this goal and this is not, or not just, a matter of each action being individually directed to that goal.

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Notes

Prerequisites

This section depends on you having studied some sections from a previous lecture:

Key Notions

An outcome is a collective goal of two or more actions involving multiple agents if it is an outcome to which those actions are directed where this is not, or not only, a matter of each action being directed to the outcome.

Can you give sufficient conditions for there to be a collective goal? Yes!

If there is a single outcome, G, such that

  1. Our actions are coordinated; and
  2. coordination of this type would normally increase the probability that G occurs.

then there is an outcome to which our actions are directed where this is not, or not only, a matter of each action being directed to that outcome, i.e. our actions have a collective goal.

Question for a theory of joint action: In virtue of what could two or more agents’ actions have a collective goal?

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Glossary

collective goal : an outcome to which two or more agents’ actions are directed where this is not, or not only, a matter of each action being directed to that outcome (Butterfill & Sinigaglia, 2022).
goal : A goal of an action is an outcome to which it is directed.
outcome : An outcome of an action is a possible or actual state of affairs.

References

Butterfill, S. A., & Sinigaglia, C. (2022). Towards a Mechanistically Neutral Account of Acting Jointly: The Notion of a Collective Goal. Mind, X(X), fzab096. https://doi.org/10.1093/mind/fzab096