Metaphysics and Collectivity
Organisational unit: Research group
Interdisciplinary research group working in the intersection between metaphysics, mereology, social ontology, philosophy of action and moral philosophy. The group's research focuses the nature of collectives and social entitites, such as organizations, associations, and informally organized groups.
In March 2012, a number of philosophers from the universities of Gothenburg, Lund, Malmö, and Umeå established the interdisciplinary research group Collectivity and Metaphysics. This research group was founded in order to create an institutional framework for already existing informal collaboration on relevant topics by members of the group. The group meets on a regular basis and also organizes various academic events.
The group’s mission is to offer a single platform for philosophical research on the nature of collectives. Collectives are collections of human beings ranging from formal organizations (e.g., corporations, intergovernmental bodies) over associations of various kinds (e.g., clubs, teams, armies) to random assemblages of people (e.g., victims of an environmental disaster). Since collectives are collections of a special kind of object (i.e., human beings), thinking about collectives leads to more general ontological questions as well. These concern the status and identity of groups as collections of individual objects of some kind and the mereological relations between groups as complex wholes and their individual parts.
Although interest in the nature of collectives has been on the rise for several decades now, attempts to merge findings from different philosophical sub-disciplines – in particular mereology, social ontology, the metaphysics and ethics of agency and responsibility – are still largely absent.