Collective Goals and Cooperation

  • R. Tuomela
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 72)


Human cooperation in the lullest sense involves acting towards a collective goal. This is one of the main theses of the theory developed in Tuomela (1997). In particular, cooperative joint action (e.g. carrying a table jointly, singing a duet) involves acting towards an intended joint goal—the one that the presupposed action-generating joint intention involves (cf. also Tuomela, 1993, on this). But cooperative joint action is not the only case of cooperative activity, and in order to be able to deal with the other cases, collective goals in a more general sense will be needed. Thus, for example, we cooperate to keep the city clean. The state of the city’s being clean is our collective goal here, and we do not usually act jointly (in the strict plan-based sense of the notion) to achieve it. But our collective action is needed to secure this goal. However, I will not present my arguments lor the necessary presence of a collective goal in cooperation in this paper (I have done this in Tuomela, 1997). The present paper will focus on an analysis of collective goals.


Collective Action Joint Action Personal Goal Collectivity Condition Joint Plan 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Tuomela
    • 1
  1. 1.Academy of Finland, Department of PhilosophyUniversity of HelsinkiFinland

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