Group Minds and Natural Kinds

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The claim is frequently made that structured collections of individuals who are themselves subjects of mental and cognitive states – such collections as courts, countries, and corporations – can be, and often are, subjects of mental or cognitive states. And, to be clear, advocates for this so-called group-minds hypothesis intend their view to be interpreted literally, not metaphorically. The existing critical literature casts substantial doubt on this view, at least on the assumption that groups are claimed to instantiate the same species of mental and cognitive properties as individual humans. In this essay, I evaluate a defensive move made by some proponents of the group-oriented view: to concede that group states and individual states aren’t of the same specific natural kinds, while holding that groups instantiate different species of mental or cognitive states – perhaps a different species of cognition itself – from those instantiated by humans. In order to evaluate this defense of group cognition, I develop a view of natural kinds – or at least of the sort of evidence that supports inferences to the sameness of natural kind – a view I have previous dubbed the ‘tweak-and-extend’ theory. Guided by the tweak-and-extend approach, I arrive at a tentative conclusion: that what is common to models of individual cognitive processing and models of group processing does not suffice to establish sameness of cognitive (or mental) kinds, properties, or state-types, not even at a generic or overarching level.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
RUPGMA
Revision history
First archival date: 2018-12-27
Latest version: 2 (2019-01-05)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2018-12-27

Total downloads
43 ( #29,303 of 37,125 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
43 ( #8,232 of 37,125 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.