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Problematic Situations, Preference Change, and Negotiations: A Philosophical Approach

Strohmaier, David (2018) Problematic Situations, Preference Change, and Negotiations: A Philosophical Approach. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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For many of the large-scale problems facing humanity, individuals lack the power to address them on their own. We might call upon group agents such as states or corporations to solve them for us. Problems such as climate change, however, are of such a scope and magnitude that no single group agent can deal with them effectively. To achieve a cooperative solution, groups must negotiate with one another on how to address these problems. Contributing to our understanding of how humanity can deal with such large-scale problems, the present thesis offers a theory of negotiating group agents. After an introduction, chapters two, three, and four offer a philosophical reconstruction of the sociological Negotiated Order approach. At the core of these chapters is a pragmatist theory of motivational change in social contexts, which I contrast with standard rational choice theory. The Negotiated Order approach argues that many social phenomena, such as organisations, function based on motivational change occurring in the context of informal negotiations. Chapter five discusses group agency and argues that functionalist accounts of group agency are a promising approach for extending the Negotiated Order approach. The sixth and final chapter returns to the original motivation for developing a theory of negotiating group agents. It shows that in the case of climate change negotiations, the Negotiated Order account offers a different and promising perspective than standard rational choice models. In addition, the thesis includes an appendix which discusses Dewey’s theory of choice and proposes a way of formalising its pragmatist take on preference change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.749489
Depositing User: David Strohmaier
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2018 14:48
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:55
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20911

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