Following up her landmark work On Social Facts, this collection of essays by noted social philosopher Margaret Gilbert develops and deepens her theory of social groups as "plural subjects." She asks, how far can our rationality take us when we pursue our personal goals? What does it mean to be a member of a group? Does group membership involve obligations and rights, and, if so, how? Gilbert argues that, in order to understand the social dimensions of human life, we must go beyond the prevailing "game theoretic" picture of people acting as independent individuals, to incorporate their situation as group members, or plural subjects bound together by joint commitments. Her new theory of obligation will be of interest to scholars engaged in empirical research as well as to philosophers and social and political theorists.
Margaret Gilbert is professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut and the author of On Social Facts (1989).
Chapter 1 Introduction: Two Standpoints Chapter 2 The Personal and the Collective Part 3 Part I. Rationality, Coordination, and Convention Chapter 4 Rationality and Salience Chapter 5 Rationality, Coordination, and Convention Chapter 6 Notes on the Concept of a Social Convention Chapter 7 On Language and Convention Chapter 8 Game Theory and Convention Part 9 Part II. Sociality: Introducing Plural Subjects Chapter 10 Walking Together: A Paradigmatic Social Phenomenon Chapter 11 Modelling Collective Belief Chapter 12 Fusion: Sketch of a "Contractual" Model Chapter 13 On the Question Whether Language Has A Social Nature: Some Aspects of Winch and Others on Wittgenstein Chapter 14 Group Languages and "Criteria" Chapter 15 More on Social Facts Part 16 Part III. Joint Commitment and Obligation Chapter 17 Agreements, Coercion, and Obligation Chapter 18 Is an Agreement an Exchange of Promises? Chapter 19 More on Collective Belief Chapter 20 Group Membership and Political Obligation Chapter 21 On Feeling Guilt for What One's Group Has Done