[SydPhil] Reminder: John Mathewson @ Mon 17 Jun 2013 13:00 - 14:30 (Current Projects)

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Sun Jun 16 12:59:55 AEST 2013

This is a reminder for:

Title: John Mathewson
Group agents and the use of idealised models in philosophy

Group agents are agents composed of parts that are themselves agents. In  
the book Group Agency, Christian List and Philip Pettit argue that such  
group agents ought to be included in the ontology of the social sciences.  
For example, they claim we can talk about the beliefs, preferences and even  
blameworthiness of entities such as corporations (as opposed to just the  
members of those corporations), where this talk is at least sometimes  
literally true. List and Pettit also consider ways in which groupagents  
should be structured in order to meet particular norms of agency, and the  
significance of these agents in our social and political environment.

I think there is a certain amount of tension between the methodology  
employed in Group Agency and its purported findings. Many of the arguments  
presented in the book involve formal treatments of highly idealised and  
abstract scenarios, the results of which are intended to secure claims  
regarding actual group agents. The use of such abstract scenarios is a  
well-established and effective research method in both philosophy and  
science, but complexities do arise when we use this research to support  
claims about the real world. I will examine the extent to which these  
complexities might cause trouble for two of List and Pettit’s claims,  
emphasising the importance of how their models generalise across actual and  
possible cases. The hope is to use these examples tomotivate some general  
heuristics regarding the use of idealised scenarios in philosophy.
When: Mon 17 Jun 2013 13:00 – 14:30 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
Where: Philosophy Common Room
Calendar: Current Projects
     * kristiemiller4 at gmail.com- creator

Event details:  

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