Collective and Individual Actions


  • Anna Laktionova Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv


individual actions, collective actions, individual rationality, collective rationality, thought experiment, actors, moral epistemology


Joint actions are irreducible to individual ones. Moreover, individual actions get beneficial analyses when reasoned as if they were to be performed jointly. Ra­tional choice explanation for individual actions could proceed with paying atten­tion to their possibility of being performed as a collective joint action. Collective actions demonstrate cooperative rationality, which differs from a simple collection of individual rationalization.

The analogy between collective and individual actions as well as between collec­tive and individual desires, believes and intentions seems to be misleading. Thus, there arise some challenging questions: is there a gap between collective and indi­vidual actions; do we act due to different reasons (is there a different rationality in­volved) when cooperate or is there a comparatively analogy with individual choices for actions; might it be that rather than reduce collective actions to individual ones, the latter can be analyzed as defective, not completely reasoned, lacking in their argumentation involving of coordination with other agents and further actions.

If argumentation even for so-called individual actions should take into ac­count mutual knowledge shared among participants of possible collective action, what would be this status of shared mutual knowledge, is it just common knowl­edge which provides habitual order of actions and things in the common world, or should we extend its status and how far to include it or its components as reasons into argumentation? Would such reasons be holistic or atomistic?

The author tries to defend irreducibility of joint rationality to individual ra­tionalities and to show benefits of an analyses of individual rationality reasoned as joint. Rational choice explanation for individual actions should proceed with paying attention to their implicitly conceived possibility of being performed as a collective joint action.

Considering a thought experiment about organ transplantation, the author ar­rives at the conclusion that in argumentation collective and individual rationalities should compliment each other. By itself, individual rationality is incomplete, and collective rationality is insufficient. Rationality provide for the explanation of the choosing of action, and, thus, for performing it.

Author Biography

Anna Laktionova, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Phd, candidate of philosophical sciences, associate pro­fessor, post-doctoral fellow, Department of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy


Abstract views: 310



How to Cite

Laktionova, A. (2015). Collective and Individual Actions. Filosofiya Osvity. Philosophy of Education, 17(2), 108–118. Retrieved from






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