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Socially Extended Epistemology$
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J. Adam Carter, Andy Clark, Jesper Kallestrup, S. Orestis Palermos, and Duncan Pritchard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801764

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801764.001.0001

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Representations and Robustly Collective Attitudes

Representations and Robustly Collective Attitudes

Chapter:
(p.36) 3 Representations and Robustly Collective Attitudes
Source:
Socially Extended Epistemology
Author(s):

Jeroen de Ridder

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198801764.003.0004

One argument against the existence of robustly collective cognitive states such as group belief and group knowledge is that there are no collective representations, i.e., representations held by groups rather than individuals. Since belief requires representation, so the argument goes, there can be no collective belief. This chapter replies to that argument. First, the chapter scrutinizes the assumption that belief requires representation and points out that it is in fact a substantive and controversial issue whether belief indeed requires representation and, if it does, how so. Secondly, the chapter argues that even if we grant the above assumption, the argument can be resisted, since there is a natural way to make sense of collective representations. By drawing on the ideas of the extended mind and distributed cognition hypotheses, this chapter outlines how we can conceive of collective representations and thereby undermine the argument against group cognitive states.

Keywords:   collective attitudes, group knowledge, group belief, collective representation, representationalism, functionalism, dispositionalism, extended mind, parity principle

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