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Intuitions about Joint Commitment (2022)

by John Michael and Stephen A. Butterfill

---Philosophical Psychology 0(0), pp. 1-16
--- links: [pdf] external [doi: 10.1080/09515089.2022.2153659]


In what sense is commitment essential to joint action, and do the participants in a joint action themselves perceive commitment as essential? Attempts to answer this question have so far been hampered by clashes of intuition. Perhaps this is because the intuitions in question have mostly been investigated using informal methods only. To explore this possibility, we adopted a more formal approach to testing intuitions about joint action, sampling naïve participants’ intuitions about experimentally controlled scenarios. This approach did reveal patterns in participants’ responses which may hint at potential conceptual links between commitment and joint action. It did not however provide evidence to support the view that commitment is essential to joint action, at least not from the agents’ own perspective. We conclude that intuitions alone, even when drawn systematically from a large sample, may be a poor basis for theorizing about joint action.