Oxford University Press publishes book written by Pettit, List

Thursday, Dec 8, 2011
by aperhac

Oxford University Press recently announced the publication of Group Agency: The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents, written by Christian List and Philip Pettit. The book was completed in 2009-10, when Christian List was an LSR Visiting Fellow at the Center; his home base is the London School of Economics. It addresses the question of whether companies, churches, states and such entities are genuine agents in their own right, or simply collections of individual agents. This issue is of importance in the methodology of social explanation and in normative theorizing about collective responsibilities and rights and it arises in one form or another in a variety of disciplines, ranging from social science to moral and political theory, to normative economics and to jurisprudence . The authors argue that corporate entities have to develop a unity that enables them to count as agents in their own right, on pain of not being able to serve the purposes for which they are designed; they look at the various ways in which such entities can be organized and at how these modes of organization serve different purposes; and they explore the normative issues that the relative autonomy of corporate agents raises.