CFS Workshop by Sebastian Rödl on Joint Action and the Second Person

Two talks by Sebastian Rödl, Institut für Philosophie, Universität Leipzig, Germany

13:15-13:20 Introduction
13:20- 15:00 Intentional Transaction
15:00-15:15 Coffee Break
15:15- 17:00 Joint Attention and Recursive Consciousness of Consciousness


Intentional Transaction

The second person is often set in contrast to the first person. And there is a contrast. It does not reside in a difference of what is thought as I from what is thought as you. For that is not different. The contrast is that of monadic and dyadic predication, action and transaction. It is the contrast, not of I and You, but of I and I-You. The second person does not add a You to an I. It divides the I and makes it a relation.

We consider, first, the form of predication that is common to first and second person thought. Then we define the second person as a species of this form of thought. Last we find the source and condition of this form of thought in a thought of this very form. This thought, being the source of its own form, is one of which one cannot be conscious from outside it. It is a last word, or, better, a first word.

Joint Action and Recursive Consciousness of Consciousness

In a series of essays, Michael Bratman defines what we may call Bratmanian action by many. Our discussion of this concept reveals that it is not the one called to mind by familiar examples of joint action. We lay alongside it a different concept of doing something together. According to it, many are doing A together if and only if the principle of the actions in which they are doing A is a joint intention to do A, an act of intending that is theirs. It seems fitting to call this joint intentional action.

In distinction to Bratmanian action by many, joint intentional action is ubiquitous in human life. This raises the question what may be the interest of Bratman’s concept. Its interest can reside only in a relation it bears to the concept of joint intentional action. We discuss the suggestion that Bratmanian action by many is a precursor of joint action in human phylogenesis and argue that it cannot be because subjects are capable of Bratmanian action by many only in virtue of being subjects of joint action.