Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 769–779 | Cite as

Joint action and recursive consciousness of consciousness



In a series of essays, Bratman defines a concept, which we may call the concept of Bratmanian action by many. Our discussion of this concept, in section 1, reveals that it is not the one called to mind by the usual examples of joint action. Section 2 lays alongside it a different concept of doing something together. According to it, many are doing A together if and only if the principle of the actions in which they are doing A is a joint intention to do A, an act of intending that is theirs. It seems fitting to call this joint intentional action. In distinction to Bratmanian action by many, joint intentional action is ubiquitous in human life. This raises the question what may be the interest of Bratman's concept. Its interest can reside only in a relation it bears to the concept of joint intentional action. Section 3 discusses the suggestion that Bratmanian action by many is a precursor of joint action in human phylogenesis. This is wrong because subjects are capable of Bratmanian action only in virtue of being subjects of joint action.


Joint action Human phylogenesis Bratman 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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