Tummolini, 2006

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Luca Tummolini * , Cristiano Castelfranchi (2006). The cognitive and behavioral mediation of institutions: Towards an account of institutional actions. Cognitive Systems Research 7(2-3), 307-323.

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide an analysis of institutional actions from the standpoint of cognitive science. The notion of constitutive rules have been proposed to describe the conceptual nature of institutions. In this paper it is extended to cover specific processes of ‘recognition’ that provide the agents with additional artificial powers. The power of doing an institutional action is considered as a special kind of artificial power. It is argued that institutional actions achieve their effects thanks to a cognitive and behavioral mediation of a collective of agents. Individual actions are seen and treated as (count as) institutional actions by the involved participants even if, in fact, institutional actions are collective actions. When human behavior becomes institutionalized, it acquires special conventional powers to bring about effects in the social world. A model of such conventional empowerment of an agent is proposed and is identified in a sort of collective permission. Finally it is argued that institutions are a specific kind of coordination artifacts. In particular, the importance of institutional roles as artifacts that assign conventional powers is investigated.

Keywords: Coordination; Institutions; Institutional actions; Power; Collective behavior; Multi-agent systems; Constitutive rules

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