Rules, Social Ontology and Collective Identity

Martins, Nuno (2009). "Rules, Social Ontology and Collective Identity" Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour Blackwell Publishing 39 3 pp. 323-344

Mainstream game theory explains cooperation as the outcome of the interaction of agents who permanently pursue their individual goals. Amartya Sen argues instead that cooperation can only be understood by positing a type of rule-following behaviour that can be (and often is) out of phase with the pursuit of individual goals, due to the existence of a collective identity. However, Sen does not clarify the ontological preconditions for the type of social behaviour he describes. The author argues that Sen's account of collective identity can be best interpreted in the light of John Searle's notion of collective intentionality, while Sen's explanation of rule-following behavior and agency is best understood using the critical realist transformational model of social activity.
scroll to top