Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Collective intentionality

Date: April 2 - 4, 2013

Convenors: Élisabeth Pacherie (Paris, FRA) und Hannes Rakoczy (Göttingen, GER)

Collective intentionality-variously also called shared or "WE"-intentionality-is the capacity to form joint intentional attitudes with others. Shared intentionality reaches from small-scale here-and-now cases to very large-scale cases, whole societies and long stretches of time. The paradigmatic examples of small-scale shared intentionality are the joint intentions involved in cooperation activities: when two dance a tango together, their intentions are not only to dance individually, but somehow to dance together. Paradigmatic examples of large-scale shared intentionality are the shared beliefs and practices of whole cultural groups (such as "In our language, 'dog' refers to dogs"). Collective intentionality has been a topic of intensive study in philosophy for some years now, but has only recently been addressed empirically by psychology, cognitive neuroscience, experimental economics and other cognitive sciences. The workshop brought together these different disciplines in order to explore the conceptual and empirical foundations of collective intentionality in an interdisciplinary way. The first session, with talks by Steven Butterfill, Hannes Rakoczy, Monika Keller, Azurra Ruggeri and Natalia Montinari explored early forms of shared intentionality in human ontogeny. This is interesting, of course, in its own right from an empirical point of view. But it is also of special interest from a philosophical point of view as early forms of shared intentionality in human ontogeny cast doubt on some of the most established proposals for conceptual analyses of shared intentionality-proposals that posit conceptual requirements for shared intentionality that such young children clearly do not fulfill while at the same time clearly engaging in shared intentionality. The second session, with talks by Mattia Gallotti, Cristina Becchio, Natalie Sebanz and Leo Schilbach explored the deep structure of shared intentionality from the points of view of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. The third session, with talks by Hans-Bernhard Schmid, David Schweikard, Elisabeth Pacherie and Christophe Heintz was dedicated to the discussion of the specific role of joint commitments in cooperative activities. The fourth session, finally, with talks by Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde and Claudia Keser dealt with the role of social norms in cooperation and coordination from the point of view of experimental economics.


Cristina Becchio (Turin, ITA), Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde (Paris, FRA), Stephen Butterfill (Coventry, GBR), Jan de Ruiter (Bielefeld, GER), Thomas Dolk (Leipzig, GER), Mattia Gallotti (Paris, FRA), Christophe Heintz (Budapest, HUN), Marina Josephs (Göttingen, GER), Monika Keller (Berlin, GER), Verena Kersken (Nimwegen, NED), Claudia Keser (Göttingen, GER), Stefanie Keupp (Göttingen, GER), Karoline Lohse (Göttingen, GER), Natalia Montinari (Jena, GER), Christian Nimtz (Bielefeld, GER), Wolfgang Prinz (Leipzig, GER), Azzura Ruggeri (Berlin, GER), Leonhard Schilbach (Köln, GER), Hans Bernhard Schmid (Wien, AUT), Laura Schmitz (Osnabrück, GER), David P. Schweikard (Münster, GER), Natalia Sebanz (Budapest, HUN)

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