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5-6 giugno 2023: Workshop: The Normativity of Joint Action

Two hands

The Department of Philosophy "Piero Martinetti" and Philab present the Workshop:

The Normativity of Joint Action

5-6 June, 2023 - University of Milan

Room 420, Via Festa del Perdono, 7, Milan. 

Short Description

In recent years, there has been a surge of interest across a diverse range of fields in understanding the ways in which joint action can give rise to new norms. Philosophers have debated whether joint action is inherently normative, and under what conditions it gives rise to obligations and entitlements (Gilbert, 1990; 2009; Bratman, 1997; 2014; Roth, 2014; Alonso, 2009; 2016; Gomez-Lavin & Rachar, 2019; 2021; Löhr, 2021). Research in psychology has provided evidence that a sense of commitment to persist in a joint action can be enhanced by contextual factors such as the degree of coordination (Michael, Sebanz & Knoblich, 2016) or the investment of effort (Székely & Michael, 2018), or by conventional phrases, gestures and conversational implicatures (Bangerter & Clark, 2003; Mazzarella et al., 2018; Geurts, 2019), and that the context of joint action triggers norms related to fairness which govern the allocation of effort between joint action partners (Török et al, 2019; Curioni et al.2020; Székely & Michael, Under Rev). Using the methods of behavioral economics, it has also been shown that coordinated decision-making gives rise to norms through a process of conventionalization (Sugden, 2000; Guala & Mittone, 2010; Przepiorka et al., 2022). Insofar as the normativity of joint action might — at least in some respects — be uniquely human, and might provide a basis for unique forms of human sociality, it is important to document variation in the normativity of joint action across species (Heesen et al, 2019, 2021; Westra & Andrews, 2021), across cultures (Michael et al, under review), and across development (Kachel et al, 2018a; 2018b; Gräfenhein et al, 2009).

In this workshop, we will bring together researchers investigating the normativity of joint action from various perspectives using diverse methods, and facilitate the transfer of insights and concepts across disciplines. A special emphasis will be placed on spelling out key questions to set the agenda for research on this topic moving forward, e.g.:

  • What are the cognitive mechanisms by which joint action generates norms?
  • What social mechanisms support the normativity of joint action?
  • What cultural differences exist with respect to the normativity of joint action?
  • What are the key similarities and differences between humans and other species with respect to the normativity of joint action?
  • What are possibilities and challenges arising when diverse social groups with different norms and/or with different attitudes towards the normativity of joint action interact?)

For questions, contact: jointactionmilan@gmail.com


Day 1 (June 5)

13:30 Introduction: John Michael
14:00 Luca Tummolini
15:00 Marcell Székely
16:00 Coffee
16:30 Gina Török
17:30 Diana Mazzarella
18:30 Close
20:00 Dinner for speakers and poster presenters

Day 2 (June 6)

09:00 Bart Geurts
10:00 Coffee
10:30 Adrian Bangerter
11:30 Posters in room 420
12:30 Lunch for speakers and poster presenters
14:00 Judith Burkart
15:00 Patricia Kanngiesser
15:30 Coffee
16:00 Stephen Butterfill & John Michael
17:00 Close


  • Francesco Guala (Unimi)
  • Corrado Sinigaglia (Unimi)
  • Carel van Schaik (Zürich University)

Poster Presenters:

  • Laura Zapparoli (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
  • Margherita Adelaide Musco (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
  • Lucia Sacheli (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
  • Giulia Tomasetig (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
  • Rahel Brügger (Zürich University)
  • Nejra Rizvanovic (Central European University)

Sponsored by the Bial Foundation (Research project "132/2022 - Mapping the Psychophysiology of Commitment") and by the Department of Philosophy “Piero Martinetti” of the University of Milan under the Project “Departments of Excellence 2023-2027” awarded by the Ministry of University and Research (MUR).

Everyone interested is welcome to attend.

The meeting will be held in English.

It will be possible to access the meeting until all places are filled.

Participation is strongly recommended to students of the Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences and to students of the Doctoral School “The Human Mind and its Explanations: Language, Brain, and Reasoning”.

06 giugno 2023
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