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The Division of Deontic Labor

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Contemporary philosophy of collective agency, as illustrated by the work of Searle, Bratman, Gilbert, Pettit and others, focuses predominantly on small groups of agents sharing common goals. In his groundbreaking paper “Massively Shared Agency” of 2014, Scott Shapiro shows the limits of this approach when dealing with the large groups of agents that form industrial corporations, armies, or systems of law enforcement. Such groups will involve alienated or uncommitted participants pursuing motives of their own. And as Shapiro shows, they can manifest shared agency only when the actions of all participants are coordinated through authority structures organized hierarchically. Here I wish to focus on that dimension of massively shared agency that has to do with the transmission of authority. I will show that while such transmission almost always involves communication through speech (or through the digital counterparts of speech), transmission of this sort is too transient,
and falls short of creating the type of enduring intermeshing of plans and intentions that is required for the imposition of hierarchical authority structures across large organizations. To create and maintain the needed hierarchical authority structures what is required are complexes of intermeshed documents. Such documents provide for what we can think of as a division of deontic labor, allowing plans, orders, and obligations to be meshed together over time.

Presented at the conference on Truth, Image and Normativity, Cagliari, Sardinia, October 23, 2014

Publié dans : Formation
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The Division of Deontic Labor

  1. 1. The Division of Deontic Labour Truth, Image, Normativity Cagliari, October 23, 2014 Barry Smith 1
  2. 2. the philosophy of the dinner party Searle, Tuomela, Gilbert, Bratman deal with simple local interaction of cooperative agents communicating by speech “Would you like to dance?” “Let’s lift this table” “Waiter, bring me a beer!” “Shall we cook dinner together?” … 2
  3. 3. beyond the philosophy of the dinner party 3 Phase 1: Massively shared agency involving participants who share a common goal – example: a symphony performance Phase 2: Massively shared agency involving substantial numbers of participants who are alienated from the overarching goal – example: an industrial enterprise, an army, the law, a city planning authority
  4. 4. first main thesis: the meshing of complex actions of large numbers of people is made possible through 1. modularization 2. hierarchically organized authorities both resting essentially on 3. the meshing of (typically diagrammatic) documents 4
  5. 5. Orchestal score with staves 5
  6. 6. The Modularity of the Orchestral Score
  7. 7. The actions of the players in an orchestral performance • are intermeshed through the sets of intermeshed documents we call orchestral scores These documents are plan specifications (sets of instructions for playing instruments) The conductor provides the authority – to initiate commitment, thus to create a plan from a mere plan specification – to resolve disputes which arise along the way, for example as to interpretation, tempo, … 7
  8. 8. Scores bring it about that specific obligation series are distributed in coordinated fashion across large groups 8
  9. 9. players actions are coordinated and steered through time through conductor’s actions combined with intermeshed sets of instructions 9
  10. 10. Massive shared agency presupposes modularity 10
  11. 11. Modularity of Orchestral Score
  12. 12. 12 reflects modularity of orchestra
  13. 13. 13
  14. 14. Authorities involved in maintaining the division of orchestral deontic labor that is involved in a symphony concert: Conductor Orchestral section leaders (First violin …) Rehearsal (drill) manager Orchestra manager Concert hall manager ~ Composer – exerts authority only as mediated through the score 14
  15. 15. Documents involved in maintaining the division of orchestral deontic labor scores, sub-scores contracts orchestra manager and conductor orchestra manager and players concert hall manager and orchestra manager concert hall manager and audience members (tickets) laws, including copyright law laws governing public assembly laws governing employment contracts laws governing sale of tickets 15 between
  16. 16. documents hold together the executions of horizontally and vertically meshed subplans through drill drill, too, is modularized based on individual and small group practice all the way up to full orchestra rehearsal 16
  17. 17. How to do things with scores 1. the author authors the score, thereby creates a possibility of performance, and thereby creates the work 2. conductor and orchestra use the score as the specification of a plan (with subplans) and commit themselves to its execution, 3. the orchestra members committing themselves to accept the authority of the conductor 4. they use the score in to rehearsing the execution of their plan (develop score-coordinated expertise through drill) 5. they schedule a concert, thereby making a commitment to each other, to their employer, and to a prospective audience to perform that work 6. they perform the work 17
  18. 18. Scott J. Shapiro, “Massively Shared Agency”, 2013 [Bratman, Searle …] ‘are unable to account for the existence of massively shared agency. they ‘have largely concentrated on analyzing shared activities among highly committed participants. The working assumption has been that those who sing duets or paint houses together are all committed to the success of the activity.’ 18
  19. 19. Shapiro: To adapt standard theory of collective agency to deal with massively shared actions we need to add authority Authorities are … “mesh creating” mechanisms. When disputes between participants break out with respect to the proper way to proceed, authorities can create a mesh between the subplans of the participants by demanding that both sides accept a certain solution. Basis for Shapiro’s theory of the nature of law 19
  20. 20. Legal systems are (roughly) • systems of intermeshed obligations • systems of intermeshed plans • systems of intermeshed instructions • system of intermeshed authorities which allow • conception of ever more complex intermeshed plans through reliance on shared commitments and on development of intermeshed expertise • excution of these plans through shared agency • investment in human and physical capital 20
  21. 21. Searle: Directions of fit • world-to-mind: a plan is formulated to change the world (to make it conform to the mind of the planner …) • mind-to-world: an assertion is about something in the world • automatic mind-to-world-and-world-to- mind: I say “I promise to pay you $100 dollars” and thereby make it true that I promise to pay you $100 dollars 21
  22. 22. directions of fit for documents • world-to-mind: a plan is formulated to change the world (to make it conform to the mind of the planner …) • mind-to-world: a report is published evaluating the success of the execution of the plan • automatic mind-to-world-and-world-to-mind: Act of Parliament is published declaring that such-and-such is the law and such-and-such is the law 22
  23. 23. what begins as a plan, ends as a record 23 cartographic directions of fit
  24. 24. Blueprint what begins as a plan ends as a record • of process • of product 24
  25. 25. Blueprint what begins as a plan ends as a record • of process • of product 25
  26. 26. Blueprint associated with multiple series of documents with deontic powers chain of commitments  from order  to blueprint creation  to acceptance of blueprint  to process of building in accordance with blueprint  to acceptance of finished building 26
  27. 27. Plans will be modified along the way physical changes to the building to meet building codes changes in materials/suppliers changes in allowed physical processes changes in administrative (approval) processes 27
  28. 28. Documents with different directions of fit become intermeshed through being stapled together over time 28
  29. 29. second main thesis: there is a division of deontic labor effectuated through the medium of intermeshed documents, which allow the deontic effects of episodic acts to be extended through time 29
  30. 30. • testaments allow the will of the testatrix to be made effective even after her death • mortgage notes attached to title deeds allow the value of your home to be used twice: as shelter and shelter and simultaneously as collateral on a loan 30
  31. 31. documents attached to building plans create 31 • certification from planning authorities as to conformity to building codes of work performed • insurance against loss as a result of or in the course of building work being performed • warranty on behalf of architects and builders concerning quality of work performed • warranty on behalf of suppliers concerning quality of materials • security to architects, builders and suppliers that they will be paid in pre-specific instalments • all of these in turn create surety in the eyes of  utilities companies when connecting the building to electricity, gas and water supplies  providers of insurance protection for the building when once complete • potential purchasers thus adding to the monetary value of the building itself
  32. 32. conclusion the meshing of plans, authorities and groups of agents of the sort that is provided by documents and document acts is an indispensable pre-requisite of all that is valuable in modern civilization 32
  33. 33. Role of plan + authority in the industrial enterprise the cooperation of the wage-laborers … their unification into one single productive body, and the establishment of a connection between their individual functions, ... are not their own act, but the act of the capital that brings them together and maintains them in that situation. … the interconnection between their various labors confronts them in the realm of ideas as a plan drawn up by the capitalist, and in practice as his authority, as the powerful will of a being outside them, who subjects their activity to his purpose. Das Kapital (quoted by Shapiro) 33
  34. 34. Deontic drill 34
  35. 35. scores and subscores / plans and subplans also allow training (rehearsal = pretend realization of a plan in advance of actual realization) 35
  36. 36. it takes practice also to understand how to interpret and follow the instructions of the conductor 36
  37. 37. we need training (drill) in order to learn how to execute diagrams 37
  38. 38. How to do things with documents • An orchestral work (as something that can be rehearsed, performed and re-performed) – could not exist without a score – could not be rehearsed without scores and subscores – could not be performed without (either) scores or rehearsal 38
  39. 39. We need training in order to execute traffic signs 39
  40. 40. We need training in order to execute the rules of civil procedure 40 http://www.kibagames.com/Game/Lawyer_Dr ess_Up http://www.kibagames.com /Game/Lawyer_Dress_Up
  41. 41. 41 modularity of command and control in the military also Fire Support Intelligence Air Logistics Operations Civil-Military Operations Targeting Maneuver & Blue Force Tracking US military operations center in Afghanistan

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