SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Reconciling group mind hypothesis with inherently phenomenal mentality
(Philosophy of Mind, Englisch)

I propose that supporters of the thesis that phenomenal consciousness is the mark of the mental (henceforth: PCM) may embrace the existence of group minds by claiming that there is a difference in reference between individual and group uses of mental vocabulary. Among the proponents of genuine group mentality there is a widespread assumption that intentionality is the mark of the mental. This is no surprise since the other main contender is phenomenal consciousness and groups entertaining intentional states are way more plausible than phenomenally conscious groups. Supporters of PCM usually dismiss the possibility of group minds because hardly any of them would like to claim that groups may be phenomenally conscious. However, it is disputable whether the nature of the mental states we ascribe to ourselves is identical to the nature of the mentality we ascribe to groups. Among the possible positions on the reference of mental vocabulary there are the literalist view and the technical view. The literalist view applied to groups claims that when one says that a group G has a belief B, then we should take "has B" as meaning exactly the same as when one says that a human H has B. Literalism seems to be accepted by major realists about group minds and it is the adoption of the literalist view that makes it look as if PCM stands in tension with group mentality. Supporters of PCM do not have to accept literalism and may instead embrace the technical view. When applied to groups it says that when one claims that a group G has a belief B it might be literally true but not because G has B in the same sense that a human H may have B. According to this view, "has a belief B" when applied to groups refers to a different property than when applied to individuals. A supporter of PCM might say that "G has B" is true iff G exhibits certain behavioral patterns, is best interpreted as having B or fits some scientific model, whereas "H has B" is true iff H has some phenomenal property, and that this discrepancy is the result of "has B" being in fact two predicates which only look the same but refer to different properties. Such discrepancy is found in mental vocabulary applied to humans so it should not be surprising to find it between individual and group levels. If PCM supporters embrace the technical view and find a good motivation for it, they will be able to plausibly explain the practice of applying mental predicates to groups.

Chair: Martin Niederl
Zeit: 17:30-18:00, 07. September 2022 (Mittwoch)
Ort: HS E.002

Jan Rostek
(Jagiellonian University, Polen)

Testability and Meaning deco