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Res Philosophica

Volume 95, Issue 3, July 2018

New Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion

Joshua Cockayne
Pages 449-476
DOI: 10.11612/resphil.1674

Inclusive Worship and Group Liturgical Action

In this article, I consider how recent work on the philosophy of group-agency and shared-agency can help us to understand what it is for a church to act in worship. I argue that to assess a model’s suitability for providing such an account, we must consider how well it handles cases of non-paradigm participants, such as those with autism spectrum disorder and young infants. I suggest that whilst a shared-agency model helps to clarify how individuals coordinate actions in cases of reading or singing liturgy, it does not handle non-paradigm cases well and so cannot be considered a suitable model of group liturgical action. Instead, I suggest that a model of groupagency, in which a plurality of action types can contribute to the actions of a group as a whole, is better suited to explaining a church’s actions in worship.