SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Critical study of Ludwig's account of institutional agency
(Metaphysics and Ontology, )

A The aim of my speech is to examine two critiques of Ludwig's account of collective agency. Ludwig in his book from 2016 and a series of papers argues that only individual actions are primitive actions and thus speaking about collective actions is only faon de parler. In the first critique I will examine, Himmelreich criticizes the method of paraphrase of action sentences which was used by Ludwig to show that it is possible to reformulate sentences about collective actions into sentences about individual actions. Roughly speaking, Ludwig argues that sentence type such as "we do X" can be read as "each of us do something which fall within X". Himmelreich claims that the procedure of paraphrase used by Ludwig is not adequate and recalls three counterexamples to prove that: discursive dilemma, China's avatar and hive minds to show that in some cases paraphrase is flawed because of causal or intentional differences between collective and individual actions, and possibility of existence of collective action without individual actions. Ludwig in his reply argues that the first example is based on oversimplification and the two others are irrelevant to his account. In another critique Blomberg tries to show that Ludwig is wrong: firstly, because that some collective actions are primitive actions (to prove this claim Bloomberg recalls the Siamese twins case and the example of skilled joint actions); secondly, because composites of primitive actions are actions in the primary sense, which is not consistent with Ludwig's restrictive view on actions inspired by Davidson and thirdly, because Ludwig's sole agency requirement, which assumes that if some action was performed by some agent, it was performed by sole agent, is not adequate. Ludwig replies to this critique by arguing that the existence of composite action does not show that collective actions are primitive as individual actions and by defending the sole agency requirement.

Chair: Agnieszka Proszewska
Time: 14:00-14:30, 11 September 2021 (Saturday)
Location: SR 1.003

Marcin Wozny 
(University of Warsaw, )



Testability and Meaning deco