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Social action

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-R026-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 13, 2024, from

Article Summary

Most of our actions take place in a social context and are, accordingly, in one way or another, dependent on the existence of other persons and their relevant actions, social institutions, conventions, or the like (for example, saluting, voting, drawing money from one’s bank account, using lipstick, buying something). But people also perform actions jointly or collectively, to achieve some joint goal. Thus they may jointly sing a duet, play tennis, build a house, or conserve energy. This is collective social action in its most central sense. Such action is based on the participants’ mutually known joint intention (‘joint plan’) to perform it. In weaker kinds of collective social action the participants are interdependent – as to their actions or thoughts – in some other ways.

Citing this article:
Tuomela, Raimo. Social action, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-R026-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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