By On Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 Categories : Review

Are multiple individuals agents? We can say that nations go to war, companies implement the plans, teams lose as well as win games, and so on. But do groups genuinely act? Or is that that only individuals carry out, and that their aggregate actions are due to groups only figuratively? Which is, when we say that will such and such football team won a sport, what we really mean is that you individuals coordinated their actions that you follow a plan every one of them agreed upon. A different understanding of group agency highlights that individuals perform actions as members of a group only because they stand inside a certain relation one to the other by virtue of the membership; hence, in some sense, the existence in the group transcends the get worse existence of its users. To choose between both the views of group agency, one needs to determine whether groups may be said to exist in relative independence using their members.
An issue in connection with this inquiry is whether groups may be moral agents – agents able to making choices and exercising freedom and so capable of being held in charge of their actions. Group agency is susceptible to a lively academic discussion with important practical benefits crucial for global justice. In order to distinguish the norms of ethical order that underlie world-wide justice and assign privileges and duties correctly, we should know which among various collectives contained in the international arena, such as religious, ethnic and country wide groups, states, militant corporations, parties, NGOs, corporations, and the like, can be recognized as moral agents into their own right with privileges and responsibilities. For example, states in which governments don’t express the will in the people certainly act while group agents, but their political power is not legitimate. Or, the official expression of group interests of oppressive cultural group may well not represent the true interests of all group members. To see what the group may be eligible for, we need to take a look at its mode of everyday living. A theory of group agency provides a much needed background for this inquiry. Thus, the relevance in the notion of group agency to global justice lies in the notion’s potential to deliver a substantive basis with regard to correctly identifying subjects with regard to normative treatment, in distinct, moral group rights. There are different records of what sets of individuals constitute collective agents in addition to of what evidence can be given going for their existence. The presence of institutional organization and a decision procedure makes a collective able to purposeful action over time and gives it identity over time period independent of particular regular membership, as Peter French would explain. For example, corporations may be full moral persons using rights and responsibilities; because individuals within the corporation act good status within the group’s electric power structure, the structure incorporates particular person intentions by subordinating and synthesizing them right corporate decision (French 1979).
A less formal structure may suffice for any group agent to enter existence. One may state, with Christopher McMachon, that a group of cooperatively disposed people that will lacks an institutional framework but has made the choice of a cooperative scheme becomes a group agent. The least demanding view of group agency calls for neither formal institutional nor procedural organization to mention that a group can be an agent. Groups that lack explicit decision-making structures but have enough cohesion to engage in collective action may be held responsible as organizations. For example, family members are motivated to act for the good of other members with their group (Feinberg 1968). For this reason, we may say a group exists when its members partake inside a cooperative relation that provides through time and affects their actions. The presence of some or every one of the following features creates a group agent: a formal institutional firm; an established decision-making process or cooperative scheme; as well as a certain relation that enables individuals to interact in group actions dependant on a common interest. Those who admit that will groups exist in relative independence using their members take a realist stance regarding group agency, and may be called “non-reductionists” – which is, what a group is can’t be reduced to the sum of characteristics of its particular person members (note that with this account members standing inside a certain relation one to the other are more than only a sum of individuals, these are individuals plus the relation). Those that object to realism concerning groups may be called “reductionists” – they declare that a group can be reduced on the aggregate of its particular person members. Hence, realists must offer some proof in the existence of group agency. Philip Pettit provides facts that collective reasoning yields results not the same as the summation of the final results of individual reasoning: when individuals decide like a group, the outcome is often not the same as the one obtained by majority vote based on the outcomes of individual selections (Pettit 2001). This proves that group agents are discontinuous using the individuals who compose all of them. David Copp offers a normative argument for the existence of group agencies: in certain situations the actions of individuals in their official capacity on the part of collectives can be logical and morally innocent even though the outcome of their actions is morally faulty. Since moral fault has to be assigned and individuals usually are blameless, the fault resides on the collective level. The collective reaches fault and thus must have acted; therefore, it can be an agent.
Reductionists can object that groups can’t be agents because they just don’t have self-awareness as persons do. One may response that although individuals get first-person phenomenological access that will collectives lack, this access doesn’t have to be required with regard to agency. Carol Rovane argues that will persons, individual or group, endure over time only insofar since they have commitments to unifying projects giving them renewed reasons to use it at different moments with their lives (Rovane 1998). A group person is usually constituted by interpersonal affairs and a single person is constituted by intrapersonal affairs that pertain to some unifying project. Group users cannot control one another’s actions directly, but neither can they do it in their relations for their future selves (Rovane 1998: 146). To act today on an objective one had yesterday, you’ve to first remember that will she had this objective. By recognizing the existence in the intention, she recognizes that she participates inside a certain continuous project. A comparable action of recognition comes about in interpersonal affairs during which individual interactions contribute on the execution of the unifying venture. Hence, that the collectives will not have a self as persons do doesn’t preclude all of them from being agents. Consequently, collectives can be held morally responsible based on the kinds of projects they participate in and can have privileges. Overall, at present this question of group agency offers more questions as compared to definitive answers, but it really is of crucial importance for global justice to stay developing theories of team agency.