Group Agency: The Possibility, Des., and Status of Corp. Agents

Christian List, Philip Pettit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

915 Scopus citations


Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? Or are they just collections of individual agents that give a misleading impression of unity? This question is important, since the answer dictates how we should explain the behaviour of these entities and whether we should treat them as responsible and accountable on the model of individual agents. This book offers a new approach to that question and is relevant, therefore, to a range of fields from philosophy to law, politics, and the social sciences. The book argues that there really are group or corporate agents, over and above the individual agents who compose them, and that a proper approach to the social sciences, law, morality, and politics must take account of this fact. Unlike some earlier defences of group agency, this account is entirely unmysterious in character and, despite not being technically difficult, is grounded in cutting-edge work in social choice theory, economics, and philosophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGroup Agency
Subtitle of host publicationThe Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages240
ISBN (Electronic)9780191725494
ISBN (Print)9780199591565
StatePublished - May 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Corporate agents
  • Economics
  • Group agencies
  • Individual agents
  • Law
  • Morality
  • Social choice theory


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