“Alignment and Commitment in Joint Action”

Abstract: Important work on alignment systems has been applied to philosophical work on joint action by Tollefsen and Dale. This paper builds from and expands on their work. The first aim of the paper is to spell out how the empirical research on alignment may be integrated into philosophical theories of joint action. The second aim is then to develop a successful characterization of joint action, which spells out the difference between genuine joint action and simpler forms of coordination based on alignment. I begin by introducing the empirical research and two definitions of joint action. I then argue that instead of using this research in conjunction with Searle’s account of collective intentionality, as Tollefsen and Dale suggest, we would be better served by applying this research to Gilbert’s account of plural subjects. In the final sections I distinguish between alignment, coordination, and joint action, clarify the roles of joint commitment and sub-personal alignment in joint action, and argue that these concepts are both consistent and mutually supportive. Combining these two research programs gives us an account of joint action that does justice to both the empirical and philosophical research.

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“Alignment and Commitment in Joint Action”

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