This book develops a novel approach to distributed cognition and collective intentionality. It is argued that collective mentality should be only be posited where specialized subroutines are integrated in a way that yields skillful goal-directed behaviour that is sensitive to concerns that are relevant to a group as such.
We live in an age of scientific collaboration, popular uprisings, failing political parties, and increasing corporate power. Many of these kinds of collective action derive from the decisions of intelligent and powerful leaders, and many others emerge as a result of the aggregation of individual interests. But genuinely collective mentality remains a seductive possibility. This book develops a novel approach to distributed cognition and collective intentionality. It argues that genuine cognition requires the capacity to engage in flexible goal-directed behavior, and that this requires specialized representational systems that are integrated in a way that yields fluid and skillful coping with environmental contingencies. In line with this argument, the book claims that collective mentality should be posited where and only where specialized subroutines are integrated to yields goal-directed behavior that is sensitive to the concerns that are relevant to a group as such. Unlike traditional claims about collective intentionality, this approach reveals that there are many kinds of collective minds: some groups have cognitive capacities that are more like those that we find in honeybees or cats than they are like those that we find in people. Indeed, groups are unlikely to be "believers" in the fullest sense of the term, and understanding why this is the case sheds new light on questions about collective intentionality and collective responsibility.
From Individual to Collective Intentionality
Acting together requires collective intentions. The contributions to this volume seek to critically assess or to enrich theories of collective intentionality by exploring topics such as collective belief, mutual coordination, and the explanation of group behavior.
In Relationship Thinking, N. J. Enfield outlines a framework for analyzing social interaction and its linguistic, cultural, and cognitive underpinnings by focusing on human relationships. This is a naturalistic approach to human sociality, grounded in the systematic study of real-time data from social interaction in everyday life. Many of the illustrative examples and analyses in the book are a result of the author's long-term field work in Laos. Enfield promotes an interdisciplinary approach to studying language, culture, and mind, building on simple but powerful semiotic principles and concentrating on three points of conceptual focus. The first is human agency: the combination of flexibility and accountability, which defines our possibilities for social action and relationships, and which makes the fission and fusion of social units possible. The second is enchrony: the timescale of conversation in which our social relationships are primarily enacted. The third is human sociality: a range of human propensities for social interaction and enduring social relations, grounded in collective commitment to shared norms. Enfield's approach cuts through common dichotomies such as 'cognitive' versus 'behaviorist', or 'public' versus 'private', arguing instead that these are indispensable sides of single phenomena. The result is a set of conceptual tools for analyzing real-time social interaction and linking it with enduring relationships and their social contexts. The book shows that even - or perhaps especially - the most mundane social interactions yield rich insights into language, culture, and mind.
Argues that the key distinction between human and nonhuman social cognition consists in our complex, diverse and flexible capacities to shape each other's minds in ways that make them easier to interpret.
The Rules of Thought
The Rules of Thought develops a rationalist theory of mental content while defending a traditional epistemology of philosophy. Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa and Benjamin W. Jarvis contend that a capacity for pure rational thought is fundamental to mental content itself and underwrites our quotidian reasoning and extraordinary philosophical engagement alike. Part I of the book develops a Fregean theory of mental content, according to which rational relations between propositions play a central role in individuating contents; the theory is designed to be sensitive not only to Frege's puzzle and other data that have motivated rationalist conceptions of content, but also to considerations in the philosophy of mind and language that have motivated neo-Russellian views. Part II articulates a theory of the a priori, and shows that, given the framework of Part I, it is very plausible that much philosophical work of interest is genuinely a priori. Notably, it is no part of the picture developed that intuitions have an important role to play, either in mental content, or in the epistemology of the a priori; Part III defends this departure from rationalist orthodoxy.
Human beings act together in characteristic ways that matter to us a great deal. This book explores the conceptual, metaphysical and normative foundations of such sociality. It argues that appeal to the planning structures involved in our individual, temporally extended agency provides substantial resources for understanding these foundations of our sociality.
Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? How do we explain their behaviour? Can we treat them as accountable for their actions? List and Pettit offer original arguments, grounded in cutting-edge work on social choice, economics, and philosophy, to show there really are group agents, over and above the individual agents who compose them.
The Routledge Handbook of Collective Intentionality
The Routledge Handbook of Collective Intentionality provides a wide-ranging survey of topics in a rapidly expanding area of interdisciplinary research. It consists of 36 chapters, written exclusively for this volume, by an international team of experts. What is distinctive about the study of collective intentionality within the broader study of social interactions and structures is its focus on the conceptual and psychological features of joint or shared actions and attitudes, and their implications for the nature of social groups and their functioning. This Handbook fully captures this distinctive nature of the field and how it subsumes the study of collective action, responsibility, reasoning, thought, intention, emotion, phenomenology, decision-making, knowledge, trust, rationality, cooperation, competition, and related issues, as well as how these underpin social practices, organizations, conventions, institutions and social ontology. Like the field, the Handbook is interdisciplinary, drawing on research in philosophy, cognitive science, linguistics, legal theory, anthropology, sociology, computer science, psychology, economics, and political science. Finally, the Handbook promotes several specific goals: (1) it provides an important resource for students and researchers interested in collective intentionality; (2) it integrates work across disciplines and areas of research as it helps to defines the shape and scope of an emerging area of research; (3) it advances the study of collective intentionality.
The era of collective intelligence has begun in earnest. While others have written about the wisdom of crowds, an army of Davids, and smart mobs, this collection of essays for the first time brings together fifty-five pioneers in the emerging discipline of collective intelligence. They provide a base of tools for connecting people, producing high-functioning teams, collaborating at multiple scales, and encouraging effective peer-production. Emerging models are explored for digital deliberative democracy, self-governance, legislative transparency, true-cost accounting, and the ethical use of open sources and methods. See also INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity & Sustainability, and THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust.