Teamwork pp 200-215 | Cite as

Rational Agency, Cooperation and Mind-reading

  • Susan Hurley

Abstract

In this paper I argue for three claims concerning rationality and units of activity. As I use the term ‘unit of activity’, activity within a unit of activity has consequences that are calculated against a background of what happens and is done beyond that unit; such consequences can be evaluated instrumentally, in light of the goals of the whole unit or of parts of it. I argue, first, that rational agency does not require individual units of activity; participation in collective units of activity in problems of cooperation (such as Prisoner’s Dilemma) and of coordination (such as Hi-Lo) can be rational, as well as natural and beneficial. Second, collective units of activity can arise by means of global or local processes. Third, at least some such processes require more than merely tracking the behaviour of others; they require the understanding of others as rational agents, or ‘mind-reading’.1 Mind-reading may function in part to enable solutions to problems of coordination and cooperation. Note that my topic 13 collective activity, not collective intentions or goals; that is, collective means, not collective ends.

Keywords

Defend Mast Metaphor Folk Plague 

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Copyright information

© Susan Hurley 2005

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  • Susan Hurley

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