Mind & Society

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 109–140 | Cite as

Through the agents' minds: Cognitive mediators of social action

  • Cristiano Castelfranchi


Thesis: Macro-level social phenomena are implemented through the (social) actions and minds of the individuals. Without an explicit theory of the agents' minds that founds, agents' behavior we cannot understand macro-level social phenomena, and in particular how they work. AntiThesis: Mind is not enough: the theory of individual (social) mind and action is not enough to explain several macro-level social phenomena. First, there are pre-cognitive, objective social structures that constrain the actions of the agents; second, there are emergent, unaware or non-contractual forms of cooperation, organisation, and intelligence. Synthesis: The real challenge is how to reconcile, cognition with emergence, intention and deliberation with unknown or unplanned social functions and “social order”. Both objective structures and unplanned self-organising complex forms of social order and social function emerge from the interactions of agents and from their individual mental states; both these structures and self-organising systems feedback on agents' behaviors through the agents' individual minds.


deduction induction mental models 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Becker, H. (1968) Value, in D.L. Sills (Ed.),International encyclopedia of the social sciences, 16 (New York, The Macmillian Company & The Free Press), pp. 743–745.Google Scholar
  2. Bicchieri, C. (1990) Norms of cooperation,Ethics, 100, pp. 838–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bond, A.H. (1989) Commitments. Some DAI insights from Symbolic Interactionist Sociology, inAAAI Workshop on DAI. (Menlo Park, AAAI Inc).Google Scholar
  4. Bond, A.H. & Gasser L. (Eds.) (1988)Readings in Distributed Artificial Intelligence (San Mateo, Kaufmann).Google Scholar
  5. Castelfranchi, C. (1982) Scopi esterni,Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia, XXIII, pp.329–381.Google Scholar
  6. Castelfranchi, C. (1990) Social power: A missed point in DAI, MA and HCI, in Y. Demazeau & J.P. Mueller (Eds.),Decentralized AI (Elsevier, North-Holland).Google Scholar
  7. Castelfranchi, C. (1995) Guaranties for Autonomy in Cognitive Agent Architecture, in M.J. Woolridge & N.R. Jennings (Eds.),Intelligent Agents I, (Berlin, LANI-Springer).Google Scholar
  8. Castelfranchi, C. (1997) Challenges for agent-based social simulation. The theory of social functions,Invited talk at SimSoc'97, Cortona, IP-CNR.Google Scholar
  9. Castelfranchi, C. (1999) Prescribed Mental Attitudes in Goal-Adoption and Norm-Adoption,AI & Law, 1999, 7, pp. 37–50.Google Scholar
  10. Castellfranchi, C. (1998) Modelling Social Action for AI Agents,Artificial, Intelligence, 6, pp. 157–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Castelfranchi, C. (forthcoming), Simulating with cognitive agents: the importance of Cognitive Emergence, in R. Conte, N. Gilbert, J. Sichman (Eds.),Multi Agent Systems and Agent Based Social Simulation—Proceedings of MABS (Berlin, Springer-Verlag).Google Scholar
  12. Castelfranchi, C. & Conte R. (1992) Emergent functionality among intelligent systems: Cooperation within and without mindsAI & Society, 6, pp. 78–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Castelfranchi, C. & Conte, R. (1996) The Dynamics of Dependence Networks and Power Relations, inOpen Multiagent Systems.Proceedings of COOP'96 (Juan-les-Pins, INRIA).Google Scholar
  14. Castelfranchi, C. & Conte, R. (1998) Limits of Economic and Strategic Rationality for Agents and MA Systems, in Magnus Boman (Ed.),Robotics and Autonomous Systems. Special Issue on “Multi-Agent Rationality”, 24, pp. 127–139.Google Scholar
  15. Castelfranchi, C. & Falcone, R. (1998) Towards a Theory of Delegation for Agent-based Systems, in Magnus Boman (Ed.),Robotics, and Autonomous Systems. Special Issue on “Multi-Agent Rationality”, 24, pp. 141–145.Google Scholar
  16. Castelfranchi, C., Miceli, M. & Cesta, A. (1992) Dependence relations, among autonomous agents, in Y. Demazeau, E. Werner (Eds),Decentralized AI-3 (Amsterdam, Elsevier).Google Scholar
  17. Castelfranchi, C. & Parisi, D. (1984) Mente e scambio sociale,Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia, XXV, pp. 45–72.Google Scholar
  18. Cohen, P. & Levesque, H. (1991)Teamwork (Menlo Park, SRI-International, Technical Report).Google Scholar
  19. Conte, R. & Castelfranchi, C. (1993) Norms as mental objects. From normative beliefs to normative goals, inProceedings of the 5th European Workshop on MAAMAW. Neuchatel—LNAI 957 (Springer, Berlin), pp. 186–98.Google Scholar
  20. Conte, R. & Castelfranchi, C. (1994) Mind is not enough. Precognitive bases of social action, in J. Doran, N. Gilbert (Eds.),Simulating societies: The computer simulation of social processes (London, UCL Press).Google Scholar
  21. Conte, R. & Castelfranchi, C. (1995)Cognitive and Social Action (London, UCL Press).Google Scholar
  22. Cranach, M., von Kalbermatten, V., Indermuhle, K. & Gugler, B. (1982)Goal-directed action (London, Academic Press).Google Scholar
  23. Elster, J. (1982) Marxism, functionalism and game-theory: the case for methological individualism,Theory and Society 11, pp. 453–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gasser, L. (1991) ‘Social conceptions of knowledge and action: DAI foundations and open systems semantics,Artificial Intelligence, 47, pp. 107–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gilbert, G.N. (1995) “Emergence” in social simulation, in G.N. Gilbert & R. Conte (Eds),Artificial societies: The computer simulation of social life (London, UCL Press).Google Scholar
  26. Grosz, B. (1996) Collaborative, Systems,AI Magazine, summer 1996, pp. 67–85.Google Scholar
  27. Grosz, B. & Kraus, S. (1996) Collaborative plans for complex group action,Artificial Intelligence, 86, pp. 269–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jennings, N.R. (1993) Commitments and conventions: The foundation of coordination in multi-agent systems,The Knowledge Engineering Review, 3, pp. 223–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kluckhohn, C. (1951)Values and value orientations in the theory of action (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  30. Koehler, W. (1938)The place of value in a world of facts (New York, Liveright).Google Scholar
  31. Krech, D., Crutchfield, R.S. & Ballachey, E.L. (1968)Individual in society: A textbook of social psychology (New York, McGraw-Hill).Google Scholar
  32. Levesque, H.J., Cohen, P.R. & Nunes, J.H.T. (1990) On acting together, inProceedings of the Eighth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence. AAAI-90 (AAAI Association-MIT Press, Boston). Scholar
  33. Malone, T.W. (1987) Modelling coordination in organizations and markets,Management Science, 33, pp. 1317–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Malone, T.W. (1988) Organizing information-processing systems: Parallels between human organizations and computer systems, in W. Zachary, S. Robertson, J. Black (Eds.),Gognition, Cooperation, and Computation (Norwood, Ablex).Google Scholar
  35. MacIntyre, A. (1981)After virtue: A study in moral theory (Notre Dame, Univ. of Notre Dame Press).Google Scholar
  36. Macy, R. (1998) Social Order in Artificial Worlds, inJASSS, 1,Google Scholar
  37. Maslow, A.H. (Ed.) (1959)New knowledge in human values (New York: Harper & Bros).Google Scholar
  38. Mataric, M. (1992) Designing Emergent Behaviors: From Local Interactions to Collective Intelligence, inSimulation of Adaptive Behavior 2 (MIT Press, Cambridge).Google Scholar
  39. Mayr, E. (1982) Learning, development and culture, in H.C. Plotkin (Ed.),Essays in evolutionary epistemology (New York, John Wiley).Google Scholar
  40. McFarland, D. (1983) Intentions as goals, open commentary to Dennet D.C. Intentional systems in cognitive ethology: the “Panglossian paradigm” defended,The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 6, pp. 343–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Miceli, M. & Castelfranchi C. (1989) A Cognitive Approach to Values,Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 2, pp. 169–94.Google Scholar
  42. Miceli, M. & Castelfranchi, C. (1992)La cognizione del valore (Milano, Franco Angeli).Google Scholar
  43. Miceli, M. & Castelfranchi, C. (forthcoming) The role of evaluation in cognition and social interaction, in K. Dautenhahn (Ed.),Human Cognition and Social Agent Technology (John Benjamins).Google Scholar
  44. Miller, G., Galanter, E., Pribram, K.H. (1960)Plans and the structure of behavior (New York, Rinehart & Winston).Google Scholar
  45. Parson, T. (1951)The social system (Glencoe, The Free Press).Google Scholar
  46. Pepper, S.C. (1958)The sources of value (Berkeley, University of California Press).Google Scholar
  47. Rao, A.S., Georgeff, M.P. & Sonenmerg E.A. (1992) Social plans: A preliminary report, in E. Werner & Y. Demazeau (Eds.),Decentralized AI-3, (Amsterdam, Elsevier).Google Scholar
  48. Rokeach, M. (1974)The nature of human values, (New York, The Free Press).Google Scholar
  49. Rosenblueth, A. Wiener, N. & J. Bigelow (1968) Behavior, Purpose, and Teleology, in W. Buckley (Ed.),Modern systems research for the behavioral scientist (Chicago, Aldine).Google Scholar
  50. Rosenblueth, A. & Wiener N. (1968) Purposeful and Non-Purposeful Behavior, in W. Buckley (Ed.),Modern systems research for the behavioral scientist (Chicago, Aldine).Google Scholar
  51. Sichman, J. (1995)Du Raisonnement Social Chez les Agents, Phd Thesis, Polytechnique-Laforia, Grenoble.Google Scholar
  52. Shapira, Z. (1997)Organizational Decision Making, (Cambridge, CUP).Google Scholar
  53. Steels, L. (1990) Cooperation between distributed agents through self-organisation, in Y. Demazeau & J.P. Muller (Eds),Decentralized AI (Amsterdam, Elsevier).Google Scholar
  54. Tuomela, R. (1993) What is Cooperation,Erkenntnis, 38, pp. 87–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tuomela, R. & Miller K. (1988) We-intentions,Philosophical, Studies, 53, pp. 367–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. van Parijs, P. (1982) Functionalist marxism rehabilited. A comment to Elster,Theory and Society, 11, pp. 497–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wilensky, R. (1983)Planning and Understanding. A Computational Approach to Human Reasoning (Reading, Addison-Wesley).Google Scholar
  58. Williams, R.M. Jr. (1964) The concept of values, in J. Gould and W.L. Kolb (Eds.),A dictionary of the social sciences (Glencoe, The Free Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Fondazione Rosselli, Rosenberg & Sellier 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristiano Castelfranchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Cognitive Modelling and Social Simulation”National Research Council-Institute of Psychology Group of “Artificial IntelligenceRomaItalia

Personalised recommendations