Non-reductive views of shared intentions

CFS Lecture by Raimo Tuomela, University of Helsinki and University of Munich. The event is open to all: everyone is welcome!


This talk presents some recent central philosophical views of shared intentions and discusses arguments for and against them.

The views focused on contain collective elements that are non-reductive with respect to individualistic attitudes and other properties of the individuals that share the intention in question.

The presentation concentrates on the accounts of Margaret Gilbert, John Searle, and Raimo Tuomela. Gilbert's account is a plural subject account that relies heavily on the participants' collective commitment.

Searle’s account (that does not rely on the notion of social group) is based on the participants' causation of the shared collective goal referred to in the content of their shared intention.

Tuomela's account relies on the general mode of having an intention, the modes focused in the talks being the individualistic I-mode and the group-based we-mode. The fullest kind of shared (or, rather, joint) intention is the we-mode joint intention that relies on the participants' group-based reason to participate in the participants' joint satisfaction of the joint intention, their collective commitment to the joint intention and its satisfaction. The participants are also assumed to satisfy a kind of collectivity condition that can colloquially be called the being-in-the-same-boat condition.


Raimo Tuomela received his first degree of doctor of philosophy in 1968 from the University of Helsinki and the second one in 1969 from Stanford University.  Having earlier worked and published in many fields of philosophy, especially philosophy of science and philosophy of action, the theory of social action has been his main research interest.

Wikipedia article on Raimo Tuomela