CFP: Group Minds and Collective Agency

Submission deadline: April 30, 2023

Conference date(s):
August 10, 2023 - August 11, 2023

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

University of Leeds 
Leeds, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Call for Abstracts: Workshop: Group Minds and Collective Agency 

This workshop is organised by the ERC-funded research project Group Thinking: New Foundations ( at the University of Leeds and has received support by the International Social Ontology Society (ISOS) (  

When talking about social entities, such as societies, corporations, or nation-states we often attribute epistemic or moral capacities to them. We say that the “University Union has a moral obligation to initiate industrial action”, or that “the IPCC knows that climate change is predominantly anthropogenic”. To treat at least some of these attributions as genuine and non-metaphorical is to understand social entities to be proper bearers of the relevant attitudes; whereby it is often assumed that only collectives with a sufficient agential structure and decision-making procedures are of this kind. However, relying on diverging notions of agency places vastly different constraints on the entities in consideration and requires diverging implicit assumptions about their ontology. While some treat group agents as merely deflationary, others think of them as being independent in a stronger inflationary sense, as ‘over and above’ their members thus as having ‘minds of their own’. This raises general questions about the nature of (collective) agency, its ontology and its relation to (collective) phenomenal consciousness.

We invite submissions consindering questions such as:

  • Shall all ‘structured collectives’ be understood as collective epistemic agents?
  • If there are collective epistemic agents, how does their agency differ from individual agency?

  • How do we model and rationalize collective agency and collective agential behaviour?

  • What kind of mental capacities are required for collective agency?

  • Can there be group phenomenal consciousness?

  • What are the ethical, legal and political implications arising from various views about the ontology of collective entities?

Keynote speakers (confirmed): 

  • J. Robert G. Williams (
  • Alessandro Salice (

Submission details:  

The submission deadline is: Sunday 30th April 2023.  

All abstracts should be submitted with the subject: "Workshop: Group Minds and Collective Agency" to or irishphilosophicalsociety@gmail.comand include:

  1. a cover letter with your name, your institutional affiliation, the title of your paper, and
  2. an abstract of 300-500 words suitable for blind review.

We aim to offer free accommodation and provide a substantial travel bursary for all speakers, though we have elected to not cover the cost of plane tickets for environmental reasons.

We especially encourage young scholars, graduate students, and people from groups which are underrepresented in philosophy to apply for participation in the workshop.

Expected notification of acceptance: Monday 15th May 2023.  

We look forward to receiving your submission.  

Cuizhu Dawn Wang, Ludovica Adamo, Simon Graf (co-organizers).  

"International Social Ontology Society" is registered as a non-profit organization in Austria.

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