“Better Together”, PuNCs Lab, Purdue University

Thursday, February 23rd, 2023

Abstract: Can we explain the things we do with others solely based on our preferences and expectations of how others will act? If so, then a commonsense version of game theory might suffice. But many philosophers disagree, instead arguing that we sometimes decide to share agency in ways that guide our downstream behaviours in order to bring about a collective goal. The intuition is that when we share agency, we are disposed to help others fulfill their roles, filter out inconsistent options, and engage in shared deliberation and negotiation–behaviours not fully explainable in terms of strategic reasoning. This talk brings empirical results to bear on the philosopher’s appeal, first to assess whether people distinguish between these two forms of sociality and then to evaluate whether there is a special package of norms associated with one or the other. It concludes that there is a widely shared norm of answerability in shared agency that is absent in strategic interaction.

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