October 12, 2018
In work that spans almost four decades, Michael Bratman has developed a rich account of human agency. At the centre of this account lies an understanding of intentions as individual planning states. A significant strand in this enterprise has been his work on shared agency, culminating in his 2014 monograph, which aims to extend his account of individual agency to cover cases of what he calls “modest sociality”, i.e. simple cases of acting together. Central to this endeavour is Bratman’s analysis of shared intention, which for him is not a sui generis phenomenon, but can be understood in terms of his concept of individual agency, as the main components of his account of shared intention are already available in his account of the intentions of a single person. In this paper, I want to critically examine Bratman’s approach to shared intention. I will proceed as follows: In Section 1, I will describe the analytic strategy that guides Bratman’s analysis. Section 2 will introduce his central claim that the fulfilment of a list of conditions suffices for a shared intention to be present. In Sections 3 to 5, I will discuss and criticise some of these conditions. In Section 6, I will draw some positive conclusions from my critical arguments.