Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy

Subject Categories



College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Advisor

Napoleon M. Mabaquiao, Jr.

Defense Panel Chair

Robert James Boyles

Defense Panel Member

Mark Anthony Dacela
Cesar Unson, Jr.
Lorenz Moises Festin
Krizna Rei Palces


John Searle’s theory of collective intentionality is one of the pioneers in the field that deals with issues concerning the intentional states of a collection of individuals such as the goal of a football team trying to execute a pass play or an orchestra’s intention to perform Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. This theory had and continues to have significant influence in the development of certain views in several areas of philosophy. It is, for instance, discussed in ethics concerning the accountability of collective agents, in philosophy of mind concerning the nature of collective consciousness and possibility of joint intentions, and in social ontology concerning the existence of social and institutional facts. It has likewise important contributions to theorizing in the field of social sciences such as in economics concerning the rationality of economic collective agents, decision making, and game theory, in sociology concerning the nature of social consciousness, and in cognitive science concerning the development of the mind or intelligence, primarily of humans. However, several criticisms have been levelled against Searle's theory of collective intentionality, especially with regard to the ontology of we-intention. Its critics allege that Searle’s we-intention, among others, leads to solipsism which thereby makes it impossible to account for social interactions, and that it is not a biological primitive. According to Searle, though his we-intention is located in individual minds and is independent of anything, it is aligned in its existence and relationship with the social realities such as social and institutional facts. This dissertation aims to defend Searle’s theory of collective intentionality from the charges hurled against it which revolve around the understanding that Searle’s theory is a pure form of internalism. With a careful consideration of Searle’s key concepts especially those pertaining to the Background, it is argued that Searle’s we-intention has both internalist and externalist features and that such features are not incompatible with one another given that internalism can be understood in two senses.

Keywords: intentionality, collective intentionality/we-intention, individualism, internalism, externalism, John Searle

Abstract Format






Physical Description

iv, 154 leaves


Internalism (Theory of knowledge); Searle, John; Intentionality (Philosophy)

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Available for download on Wednesday, August 10, 2022