Skilled we-intentionality: Situating joint action in the living environment

Julian Kiverstein*, Erik Rietveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


There is a difference between the activities of two or more individuals that are performed jointly such as playing music in a band or dancing as a couple, and performing these same activities alone. This difference is sometimes captured by appealing to shared or joint intentions that allow individuals to coordinate what they do over space and time. In what follows we will use the terminology of we-intentionality to refer to what individuals do when they engage in group ways of thinking, feeling and acting. Our aim in this paper is to argue that we-intentionality is best understood in relation to a shared living environment in which acting individuals are situated. By the 'living environment' we mean to refer to places and everyday situations in which humans act. These places and situations are simultaneously social, cultural, material and natural. We will use the term 'affordance' to refer to the possibilities for action the living environment furnishes. Affordances form and are maintained over time through the activities people repeatedly engage in the living environment. We will show how we-intentionality is best understood in relation to the affordances of the living environmentand by taking into account the skills people have to engage with these affordances. For this reason we coin the term 'skilled we-intentionality' to characterize the intentionality characteristic of group ways of acting, feeling and thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Article number54
JournalOpen Research Europe
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Joint action; we intentionality; skilled intentionality; affordances; dynamical systems theory; embodied cognition; philosophy of action


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