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Collective RationalityEquilibrium in Cooperative Games$
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Paul Weirich

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388381.001.0001

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Rationality Writ Large

Rationality Writ Large

(p.3) 1 Rationality Writ Large
Collective Rationality

Paul Weirich (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A committee's passing a resolution may be rational or irrational. Groups of people perform acts that are evaluable for rationality. This observation raises two philosophical questions: What makes a collective act evaluable for rationality? What principles of rationality govern collective acts? Collective rationality extends principles of evaluation from individuals to groups. However, because groups of people lack minds, their acts' evaluability does not require collective preferences, beliefs, or intentions. The evaluability of a group's act originates in the freedom of the group's members and their control over acts constituting the group's act. Common principles of collective rationality, such as efficiency, require grounding in general principles of rationality. Game theory demonstrates the origin of principles of collective rationality from principles governing all agents.

Keywords:   agent, collective act, collective intention, collective preference, game theory, group, freedom, individual, rationality

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