We-Mode Reasoning about our Environmental Obligations
Anne Schwenkenbecher (Murdoch University)

December 18, 2023, 3:15pm - 4:45pm

This event is online


Stockholm University
University of Gothenburg
University of Vienna

Topic areas


The Collective Ethics Seminar: Online Presentation – 18 December 2023 - 15.15 - 16.45 CET / 09.15 - 10.45 EST

Anne Schwenkenbecher (Murdoch University) – We-Mode Reasoning about our Environmental Obligations

On Monday 18 December, Anne Schwenkenbecher (Murdoch University) will give an online presentation at the Collective Ethics Seminar entitled ‘We-Mode Reasoning about our Environmental Obligations’.

Abstract: Moral agents facing collective-action problems regularly encounter a conundrum: together, we can effect change whereas, individually, we are inefficacious. Further, what appears individually rational can be collectively suboptimal. An individual agent may employ different types of reasoning in deciding how to act vis-à-vis such problems. Reasoning in the I-mode, she takes her individual agency and efficacy in the world as the starting point: What is the best thing she can do given the circumstance and given what others do? It is act-based, best-response reasoning. The preferences of agents deliberating in the I-mode may well be other-regarding: e.g. they may aim at furthering the groupʼs interest or collective good. We-mode reasoning, or ʻwe-reasoningʼ, in contrast, is pattern-based: we infer our course of action from what is collectively best by way of acting as part of the group rather than for the sake of the group. I-mode reasoning with pro-group preferences (pro-group I-mode reasoning) and we-reasoning will often generate the same result, in particular in so-called strict joint necessity cases – where each agentʼs contribution is necessary for realizing a specific collectively available option. I-mode reasoning will regularly generate socially suboptimal results in so-called wide joint necessity cases –such as voting or carbon footprint reductions. Moraldeliberating agents use both kinds of reasoning and contextual factors seem to function as important triggers. But how should agents reason vis-à-vis collective moral action problems? Answering this question is crucial for understanding (many if not most of) our moral obligations regarding the environment.

The online seminar is open for all to attend. The other remaining presenter this semester is Maeve McKeown (University of Groningen). For more information about the seminar and the schedule, please see https://social.univie.ac.at/events/collective-ethics-seminar/.

The session starts at 15.15 CET / 09.15 EST. You can join the session via the following link: https://univienna.zoom.us/j/62736288881?pwd=SndEdTNoNlZtSzJqcmpabm5NaWIyUT09

We hope to see you at the seminar!

Kind regards,

Gunnar Björnsson (Stockholm University), Olle Blomberg (University of Gothenburg), and Niels de Haan (University of Vienna)

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




Who is attending?

1 person is attending:


See all

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.