The great English philosopher Thomas Hobbes famously said that in the state of nature, life is solitary, brutish and short -- as if nature designed people to act alone, rather than together. But acting together, this week's topic, is one of the most natural things in the world. If we never acted together, there would be no families, no teams, no countries. But what exactly is it to act together?
What is it
Many goals are too complex for one person to accomplish alone. Every day, we pool together our planning abilities with those around us to get things done. It’s clear that without shared agency, none of our familiar social institutions could exist. However, philosophers are in disagreement about what shared agency actually entails. What is it about collective action that's unique, and why does it come about? How is acting together sometimes greater than the sum of its parts? John and Ken join forces with Margaret Gilbert from UC Irvine, author of Joint Commitment: How We Make the Social World.