Representations and Robustly Collective Attitudes

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocially Extended Epistemology
EditorsJ.A. Carter, A. Clark, J. Kallestrup, O. Palermos, D. Pritchard
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780198801764
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Publication series

NameOxford Scholarship Online


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