Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 261–277 | Cite as

Rationality and the Unit of Action

  • Christopher WoodardEmail author
Joint Action: What is Shared?


This paper examines the idea of an extended unit of action, which is the idea that the reasons for or against an individual action can depend on the qualities of a larger pattern of action of which it is a part. One concept of joint action is that the unit of action can be extended in this sense. But the idea of an extended unit of action is surprisingly minimal in its commitments. The paper argues for this conclusion by examining uses of the idea of an extended unit of action in four theoretical contexts. It also explains why the idea of an extended unit of action need not involve magical thinking, and discusses possible replies to an objection based on a worry about recklessness.


Joint Action Normative Reason Standard View Extended Unit Collective Action Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am very grateful to the late Susan Hurley, the late Michael Bacharach, and Alex Gregory for very helpful discussion of these issues. I am especially grateful to three anonymous referees and to Stephen Butterfill and Natalie Sebanz, all of whose extremely useful and generous comments helped me greatly improve this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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