David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (4):703-725 (2013)
According to the discontinuity view, people recognize a deep discontinuity between phenomenal and intentional states, such that they refrain from attributing feelings and experiences to entities that do not have the right kind of body, though they may attribute thoughts to entities that lack a biological body, like corporations, robots, and disembodied souls. We examine some of the research that has been used to motivate the discontinuity view. Specifically, we focus on experiments that examine people's aptness judgments for various mental state ascriptions to groups. These studies seem to reveal that people are more inclined to think of groups as having intentionality than as having phenomenology. Combined with the fact that groups obviously lack a single biological body, this has been taken as evidence that people operate according to the relevant discontinuity. However, these studies support discontinuity only on the assumption that the experimental participants are interpreting the relevant group mental state ascriptions in a specific way. We present evidence that people are not interpreting these ascriptions in a way that supports discontinuity. Instead, we argue that people generally interpret group mental state ascriptions distributively, as attributions of mental states to various group members.
|Keywords||Phenomenal consciousness Collective intentionality Linguistic pragmatics Methodology Experimental philosophy Philosophy of sociology Group minds|
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Citations of this work BETA
Gunnar Björnsson & Kendy Hess (2016). Corporate Crocodile Tears? On the Reactive Attitudes of Corporate Agents. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3).
Wesley Buckwalter & Mark Phelan (2013). Function and Feeling Machines: A Defense of the Philosophical Conception of Subjective Experience. Philosophical Studies 166 (2):349-361.
Eric Schwitzgebel (2015). If Materialism is True, the United States is Probably Conscious. Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1697-1721.
Geoffrey P. Goodwin (2015). Experimental Approaches to Moral Standing. Philosophy Compass 10 (12):914-926.
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