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The Objection from Contralateral Commitment

A premise linking shared intention with contralateral commitments provides the basis for an objection against Bratman’s account (among others’ accounts) of shared intention. What is the objection and should we accept it?

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In this section we consider the prospects for developing an objection to Bratman’s (and others’) theory of shared intention from the claim that shared intention is associated with commitment.

This is inspired by Gilbert (2013, pp. 88–9) assertion that:

‘When people regard themselves as collectively intending to do something, they appear to understand that, by virtue of the collective intention, and that alone, each party has the standing to demand [...] conformity of the other parties. A joint commitment account [...] respects this fact. [...] accounts that do not appeal to joint commitment—such as those of Michael Bratman and John Searle—are hard-pressed to do so.’

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Gilbert, M. P. (2013). Joint commitment: How we make the social world. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from
Pettit, P., & Schweikard, D. (2006). Joint Actions and Group Agents. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 36(1), 18–39.
Roth, A. S. (2004). Shared agency and contralateral commitments. The Philosophical Review, 113(3), 359–410.