It is somewhat surprising to find out how little serious theorizing there is in philosophy (and in social psychology as well as sociology) on the nature of social actions or joint act. hons in the sense of actions performed together by several agents. Actions performed by single agents have been extensively discussed both in philosophy and in psycho~ogy. There is, ac- cordingly, a booming field called action theory in philosophy but it has so far strongly concentrated on actions performed by single agents only. We of course should not forget game theory, a discipline that systematically studies the strategic interac- tion between several rational agents. Yet this important theory, besides being restricted to strongly rational acting, fails to study properly several central problems related to the concep- tual nature of social action. Thus, it does not adequately clarify and classify the various types of joint action (except perhaps from the point of view of the agents' utilities). This book presents a systematic theory of social action. Because of its reliance on so-called purposive causation and generation it is called the purposive-causal theory.
This work also discusses several problems related to the topic of social action, for instance that of how to create from this perspective the most central concepts needed by social psychology and soci- ology. While quite a lot of ground is covered in the book, many important questions have been left unanswered and many others unasked as well.
`This is a good book - rich, subtle, sophisticated, penetrating, original, and wide-ranging.'
The Philosophical Review (July 1986)
1: Philosophy and the Theory of Social Action.- I Scientific Realism and the Social Sciences.- II Theorizing about Social Action.- 2: Individualism and Concept Formation in the Social Sciences.- I Holistic Social Concepts.- II Conceptual Individualism.- III We-Intentions and Social Motivation.- 3: Theories of Action.- I Views of Human Action.- II Mental Cause Theory.- III Agency Theory.- IV Hermeneutic Theory.- V Arguments for and against Causal Theories of Action.- 4: The Purposive-Causal Theory of Human Action.- I The Fundamental Elements of the Purposive-Causal Theory of Action.- II The Structure of Single-Agent Action.- 5: The Structure of Social Action.- I The General Nature of Social Action.- II Simple Social Actions.- III Complex Social Actions.- IV The Acting of Social Collectives.- V Group Interests Revisited.- 6: Action Generation.- I Action Generation and the By-Relation.- II Action Generation and the Theory of Automata.- III Social Actions, Grammars, and Social Conduct Plans.- 7: Practical Inference and Social Action.- I Loop Beliefs and Practical Inference.- II Mutual Beliefs.- III The Replicative Justification of Social Beliefs.- IV Social Action and Practical Inference.- V Mixed Interest Games and Practical Inference.- VI Social Rules and the Scope of Social Action.- 8: Norms, Rules, and Social Structures.- I Social Norms.- II Social Rules.- III Similarity and Roles.- IV Social Structures.- 9: Social Interaction and Control.- I Acting in Social Relation.- II Overt Social Interaction.- III Covert Social Interaction.- 10: A Pragmatic Theory of Explanation.- I Explaining as Communicative Action.- II Emphasis.- III Understanding and Presuppositions.- 11: Proximate Explanation of Social Action.- I Explanation and Social Action.- II Teleological Explanation.- III Purposive-Causal Explanation.- IV Reason-Explanation.- V Explaining the Style of Action.- VI Understanding Action.- 12: Dynamic Explanation of Social Action.- I Explanation and Other-Regarding Utilities.- II Expected Utilities, Motives, and the Explanation of Social Action.- III The Nature of Dynamic Action Explanations.- 13: Functional and Invisible Hand Explanation of Social Action.- I Action-Functions and Functional Explanations.- II Invisible Hand Explanations of Social Action.- 14: Explanatory Individualism and Explanation of Social Laws.- I Explanatory Individualism.- II Explanation of Social Laws.- Notes.- Name index.- Index of Symbols, Definitions, and Theses.
Series: SYNTHESE LIBRARY
Number Of Pages: 534
Published: 30th September 1984
Country of Publication: NL
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5
Weight (kg): 2.08