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From Individual to Collective IntentionalityNew Essays$
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Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks, and Gerhard Preyer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199936502

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199936502.001.0001

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Against Group Cognitive States

Against Group Cognitive States

Chapter:
(p.97) 4 Against Group Cognitive States
Source:
From Individual to Collective Intentionality
Author(s):

Robert D. Rupert

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199936502.003.0005

This chapter examines the question of whether cognitive states should be attributed to groups. The chapter investigates the explanatory power that cognitive states have insofar as collective actions are concerned. They seem to have such power in folk explanations. The chapter, however, argues that there are a number of disanalogies. First, none of us has first-person access to group attitudes. Second, group actions can be explained more parsimoniously in terms of individual attitudes. The chapter goes on to argue that cognitive science has not provided any evidence in favor of group attitudes. Furthermore, group behavior in animals can be explained in terms of individual cognitive processes. All of these considerations are broadly epistemic. And none of them support the idea that groups can have cognitive states.

Keywords:   collective action, collective attitudes, cognitive science, group behavior, groups

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