Tollefsen, D. (2002). Collective intentionality and the social sciences. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 32(1), 25–50.
In everyday discourse and in the context of social scientific research we often attribute intentional states to groups. Contemporary approaches to group intentionality have either dismissed these attributions as metaphorical or provided an analysis of our attributions in terms of the intentional states of individuals in the group. In section 1, the author argues that these approaches are problematic. In sections 2 and 3, the author defends the view that certain groups are literally intentional agents. In section 4, the author argues that there are significant reasons for social scientists and philosophers of social science to acknowledge the adequacy of macro-level explanations that involve the attribution of intentional states to groups. In section 5, the author considers and responds to some criticisms of the thesis she defends.