Episteme 7 (3):266-283 (2010)
|Abstract||This paper uses the economic crisis of 2008 as a case study to examine the explanatory validity of collective mental representations. Distinguished economists such as Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz attribute collective beliefs, desires, intentions, and emotions to organizations such as banks and governments. I argue that the most plausible interpretation of these attributions is that they are metaphorical pointers to a complex of multilevel social, psychological, and neural mechanisms. This interpretation also applies to collective knowledge in science: scientific communities do not literally have collective representations, but social mechanisms do make important contributions to scientific knowledge.|
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