About this topic
Summary In the late 19th and early 20th Century, many psychologists posited group minds to explain the behavior of crowds and states, as well as the emergence of norms and societal facts. In a world populated by powerful labor unions, anarchist collectives, and radical workers’ parties, each resisting the unfair demands of powerful corporate agents, it seemed reasonable to assume that powerful psychological forces were at play in the production of collective behavior. But these theories of collective mentality relied on such implausibly weak forms of functionalism and such excessively inflationary ontologies that they shared little in common with the theories of mental states that emerged in other parts of philosophy and the cognitive sciences. In the current age of popular uprisings, failing political parties, and increasing corporate power, it come s as no surprise that philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists have once again developed an interest in collective behavior. A number of popular books have attempted to resuscitate claims about collective intelligence and collective decision-making; and there is a rapidly growing philosophical literature on issues of collaboration, collective intentionality, collective decision-making, and collective responsibility. Research on collective mentality spans a wide range of philosophical topics that pertaining to group minds and collective mental states. Like the philosophy of mind more broadly, the investigation of collective mentality overlaps in rich and important ways with the philosophy of action and the philosophy of cognitive science.  On the one hand, there is a long tradition of analyzing the nature and possibility of collective intentionality (this research is mainly catalogued under the 'collective action', 'collective intentionality', and 'collective responsibility' subcategories). On the other hand, there is a more recent field of investigation, grounded in the scientific study of distributed cognition. This research has targeted everything from issues of cognitive architecture, to questions about the possibility of collective consciousness and the possibility of collective mental representation. 
Key works The literature on collective intentionality and collective responsibility is expansive, and key works for each of these areas should be found under those subheadings. From a perspective more heavily grounded in the philosophy of cognitive science, Clark 1994 argues that a Dennettian account of mentality can be extended to cover some types of groups, and Hutchins 1995 develops a framework for studying collective and distributed cognition based on Marr 1982Perron Tollefsen 2003 and Rovane 1997 develop an approach to collective personhood based on the reactive attitudes. Theiner et al 2010 and Tollefsen 2006 develop defenses of the group mind in line with the more familiar extended mind hypothesis (Clark & Chalmers 1998). Sutton et al 2010 builds an empirical and theoretical foundation for the study of collective remembering. Wilson 2001 offers a critical appraisal of the collective psychology tradition that emerged in the late 19th Century, and develops the Social Manifestation Hypothesis as an alternative to positing group minds. Rupert 2005 develops a compelling set of objections to models of collective mentality that depend on appeals to intentionality, while Rupert 2011 offers a critical appraisal of empirical work on collective mentality. Finally, Huebner 2014 offers a sustained defense of the group mind hypothesis that builds on these resources and responds to the most common objections to the hypothesis of collective mentality.
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  1. As We May Be Doing Philosophy: Informationalism – A New Regime for Philosophy?Daniel Apollon - 2008 - In Herbert Hrachovec & Alois Pichler (eds.), Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Information: Proceedings of the 30th International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium in Kirchberg, 2007. De Gruyter. pp. 241-260.
  2. How Our Collective Representations Affect the Future of the European Union.Jan Berting - 2016 - International Journal of Social Quality 6 (1).
  3. The Banned Books of England and Other Countries.Cyril Bibby - 1963 - The Eugenics Review 54 (4):221.
  4. Shifting Imaginaries in the War on Terror.Werner Binder - 2016 - Social Imaginaries 2 (1):119-150.
    Th is analysis employs the concept of social imaginary to account for recent shifts in the imagination, discourse and practice of torture. It is motivated by a broader ambition to highlight the importance of the imaginary vis-a-vis the symbolic, which still dominates theoretical debates in cultural sociology. Culture does not only consist of codes and symbols, but also encompasses collectively shared imaginary significations. Only by paying tribute to the imaginary dimension of culture, we are able to understand how codes and (...)
  5. Modern Social Imaginaries.Charles Blattberg - 2006 - Dialogue 45 (1):183-185.
  6. Memory and Identity of Europe.Remo Bodei - 2009 - Iris. European Journal of Philosophy and Public Debate 1 (1):19-25.
    How can the European Union comprehend and receive millions of persons without losing its identity? An identity that, moreover, is itself multiple, expansive, clustered. The European Community has recently been enriched by twelve new members – ten eastern and central European and two Mediterranean states. This enlargement, on the one hand, will serve to heal a historical wound, closing the rift that divided the soil of Europe with the so-called “Iron Curtain”; on the other, it will open even more intense (...)
  7. The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. Gustave Le BonThe Psychology of Peoples. Gustave Le Bon.H. Bosanquet - 1899 - International Journal of Ethics 9 (4):521-523.
  8. Individualism, Collective Agency and the “Micro-Macro Relation”.Alban Bouvier - unknown
  9. On the Social Benefits of Knowledge.Vihren Bouzov - 2016 - Analele Universitatii Din Craiova, Seria Filosofie 37 (1).
    Knowledge is one of the most important factors determining the development of global economy and overcoming the present existing inequalities. Humankind needs a fair distribution of the potential of knowledge because its big social problems and difficulties today are due to the existence of deep‐going differences in its possession and use. This paper is an attempt to analyze and present certain philosophical arguments and conceptions justifying cooperative decision‐making in the searching for fair distribution of the benefits of knowledge in the (...)
  10. Should Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations Be Less Adversarial?Norman E. Bowie - 1985 - Journal of Business Ethics 4 (4):283 - 291.
    In this paper I argue that the poker analogy is unsuitable as a model for collective bargaining negotiations. Using the poker game analogy is imprudent, its use undermines trust and ignores the cooperative features of business, and its use fails to take into account the values of dignity and fairness which should characterize labor-management negotiations. I propose and defend a model of ideal family decision-making as a superior model to the poker game.
  11. Where Are Collectives in Collectivism? Toward Conceptual Clarification of Individualism and Collectivism.Marilynn B. Brewer & Ya-Ru Chen - 2007 - Psychological Review 114 (1):133-151.
  12. Shared Memory, Odours and Sociotransmitters Or: "Save the Interaction!".Joël Candau - 2010 - Outlines. Critical Practice Studies 12 (2):29-42.
    Collective memory, social memory, professional memory: although these notions are in current use when we name the shared (or assumed to be shared) representations of the past, they are very ambiguous. The point at issue is to show how memories can become common to some or to all members of a group . In this paper, I shall base my arguments on the simplest situation imaginable: The sharing of a memory of an olfactory experience by two individuals, namely one of (...)
  13. Human Life Is Group Life: Deliberative Democracy for Realists.Simone Chambers - 2018 - Critical Review 30 (1-2):36-48.
  14. Rhetoric and the Public Sphere.Simone Chambers - 2009 - Political Theory 37 (3):323-350.
    The pathologies of the democratic public sphere, first articulated by Plato in his attack on rhetoric, have pushed much of deliberative theory out of the mass public and into the study and design of small scale deliberative venues. The move away from the mass public can be seen in a growing split in deliberative theory between theories of democratic deliberation (on the ascendancy) which focus on discrete deliberative initiatives within democracies and theories of deliberative democracy (on the decline) that attempt (...)
  15. Who Do We Think We Are?Lorraine Code - 2016 - Social Philosophy Today 32:29-44.
    This paper begins to develop a conception of ecological subjectivity and hence of social-political practice that can promote social justice across diverse populations and situations. It urges a provocative posing of the question “who do we think we are?” to direct attention to often unspoken assumptions about subjectivity and agency that tend silently to inform current philosophical inquiry. Drawing attention to the often-unconscious processes of “we-saying.” it aims to highlight and to prompt contestation of the silent assumptions that tend to (...)
  16. Cultural Property and Collective Identity.Elizabeth Burns Coleman - 2006 - In Michael Higgins & Stefan Herbrechter (eds.), Returning (to) Communities: Theory, Culture and Political Practice of the Communal. Brill.
  17. Collective Attitudes and the Sense of Us: Feeling of Commitment and Limits of Plural Self-Awareness.Katja Crone - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (1):76-90.
  18. Commitments in Groups and Commitments of Groups.Jacob D. Heim - 2015 - Phenomenology and Mind 1 (9):74-82.
    I argue that a group can have normative commitments, and that the commitment of a group is not merely a sum or aggregate of the commitments of individual group members. I begin with a set of simple cases which illustrate two structurally different ways that group commitments can go wrong. These two kinds of potential failure correspond to two different levels of commitment: one at the individual level, owed to the other group members, and one at the group level, which (...)
  19. Two Modes of Collective Belief.Christopher Mcmahon - 2003 - ProtoSociology 18:347-362.
    Margaret Gilbert has defended the view that there is such a thing as genuine collective belief, in contrast to mere collective acceptance. I argue that even if she is right, we need to distinguish two modes of collective belief. On one, a group’s believing something as a body is a matter of its relating to a proposition, as a body, in the same way that an individual who has formed a belief on some matter relates to the proposition believed. On (...)
Collective Mentality, Misc
  1. Collaborative Distributed Decision Making for Large Scale Disaster Relief Operations: Drawing Analogies From Robust Natural Systems.Roberto G. Aldunate, Feniosky Pena-Mora & Gene E. Robinson - 2005 - Complexity 11 (2):28-38.
  2. Collective Willing and Truth.S. Alexander - 1913 - Mind 22 (85):14-47.
  3. Evolution, Embodiment and the Nature of the Mind.Michael Anderson - manuscript
    In: B. Hardy-Vallee & N. Payette, eds. Beyond the brain: embodied, situated & distributed cognition. (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar’s Press), in press. Abstract: In this article, I do three main things: 1. First, I introduce an approach to the mind motivated primarily by evolutionary considerations. I do that by laying out four principles for the study of the mind from an evolutionary perspective, and four predictions that they suggest. This evolutionary perspective is completely compatible with, although broader than, the embodied cognition (...)
  4. Scaffolded Memory and Metacognitive Feelings.Santiago Arango-Muñoz - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (1):135-152.
    Recent debates on mental extension and distributed cognition have taught us that environmental resources play an important and often indispensable role in supporting cognitive capacities. In order to clarify how interactions between the mind –particularly memory– and the world take place, this paper presents the “selection problem” and the “endorsement problem” as structural problems arising from such interactions in cases of mental scaffolding. On the one hand, the selection problem arises each time an agent is confronted with a cognitive problem, (...)
  5. Crime Scene Investigation as Distributed Cognition.Chris Baber, Paul Smith, James Cross, John E. Hunter & Richard McMaster - 2006 - Pragmatics and Cognitionpragmatics and Cognition 14 (2):357-385.
  6. Crime Scene Investigation and Distributed Cognition.Chris Baber, Paul Smith, James Cross, John Hunter & Richard McMaster - 2006 - Pragmatics and Cognition 14 (2):357-386.
    Crime scene investigation is a form of Distributed Cognition. The principal concept we explore in this paper is that of `resource for action'. It is proposed that crime scene investigation employs four primary resources-for-action: the environment, or scene itself, which affords particular forms of search and object retrieval; the retrieved objects, which afford translation into evidence; the procedures that guide investigation, which both constrain the search activity and also provide opportunity for additional activity; the narratives that different agents within the (...)
  7. Phenomenal Consciousness, Collective Mentality, and Collective Moral Responsibility.Matthew Baddorf - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2769-2786.
    Are corporations and other complex groups ever morally responsible in ways that do not reduce to the moral responsibility of their members? Christian List, Phillip Pettit, Kendy Hess, and David Copp have recently defended the idea that they can be. For them, complex groups (sometimes called collectives) can be irreducibly morally responsible because they satisfy the conditions for morally responsible agency; and this view is made more plausible by the claim (made by Theiner) that collectives can have minds. In this (...)
  8. Social Action In Large Groups.Ulrich Baltzer - 2003 - ProtoSociology 18:127-136.
    Large Groups are not constituted simply by adding further members to small groups. There is a qualitative difference between the social actions which take place in small communities and those in large ones. Large communities are irreducibly characterized by anonymity, i.e., the members of large groups don’t know of most of the other members as individual. Therefore, social action in large groups is based on a sign process: each member of a large group is understood as a representative of the (...)
  9. Distributed Mental Models: Mental Models in Distributed Cognitive Systems.Adrian P. Banks & Lynne J. Millward - 2009 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 30 (4):249-266.
    The function of groups as information processors is increasingly being recognised in a number of theories of group cognition. A theme of many of these is an emphasis on sharing cognition. This paper extends current conceptualisations of groups by critiquing the focus on shared cognition and emphasising the distribution of cognition in groups. In particular, it develops an account of the distribution of one cognitive construct, mental models. Mental models have been chosen as a focus because they are used in (...)
  10. At the Threshold of Memory: Collective Memory Between Personal Experience and Political Identity.Jeffrey Barash - 2011 - Meta 3 (2):249-267.
    Collective memory is thought to be something “more” than a conglomeration of personal memories which compose it. Yet, each of us, each individual in every society, remembers from a personal point of view. And if there is memory beyond personal experience through which collective identities are configured, in what “place” might one legitimately situate it? In addressing this question, this article examines the political significance of the distinction between two levels of what are often lumped together under the term of (...)
  11. Qu'est-ce que la mémoire collective ?Jeffrey Andrew Barash - 2006 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 2 (2):185-195.
  12. Corporate Crocodile Tears? On the Reactive Attitudes of Corporate Agents.Gunnar Björnsson & Kendy Hess - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):273–298.
    Recently, a number of people have argued that certain entities embodied by groups of agents themselves qualify as agents, with their own beliefs, desires, and intentions; even, some claim, as moral agents. However, others have independently argued that fully-fledged moral agency involves a capacity for reactive attitudes such as guilt and indignation, and these capacities might seem beyond the ken of “collective” or “ corporate ” agents. Individuals embodying such agents can of course be ashamed, proud, or indignant about what (...)
  13. We‐Experiences, Common Knowledge, and the Mode Approach to Collective Intentionality.Olle Blomberg - 2018 - Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (1):183-203.
    According to we-mode accounts of collective intentionality, an experience is a "we-experience"—that is, part of a jointly attentional episode—in virtue of the way or mode in which the content of the experience is given to the subject of experience. These accounts are supposed to explain how a we-experience can have the phenomenal character of being given to the subject "as ours" rather than merely "as my experience" (Zahavi 2015), and do so in a relatively conceptually and cognitively undemanding way. Galotti (...)
  14. Social Ontology and Collective Intentionality: Critical Essays on the Philosophy of Raimo Tuomela with His Responses, Edited by Gerhard Preyer and Georg Peter. [REVIEW]Olle Blomberg - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2017.08.10).
  15. Do Socio-Technical Systems Cognise?Olle Blomberg - 2009 - Proceedings of the 2nd AISB Symposium on Computing and Philosophy.
    The view that an agent’s cognitive processes sometimes include proper parts found outside the skin and skull of the agent is gaining increasing acceptance in philosophy of mind. One main empirical touchstone for this so-called active externalism is Edwin Hutchins’ theory of distributed cognition (DCog). However, the connection between DCog and active externalism is far from clear. While active externalism is one component of DCog, the theory also incorporates other related claims, which active externalists may not want to take on (...)
  16. McDOUGALL, W. - The Group Mind. [REVIEW]B. Bosanquet - 1921 - Mind 30:63.
  17. Distributed Perspectives in Future Workspaces.Roman Boutellier - 2016 - In Martina Plümacher & Günter Abel (eds.), The Power of Distributed Perspectives. De Gruyter. pp. 119-136.
  18. Group Minds.D. H. M. Brooks - 1986 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64 (4):456-70.
  19. Against `Distributed Cognition'.G. Button - 2008 - Theory, Culture and Society 25 (2):87-104.
  20. Distributed Cognition: An Ectoderm-Centric Perspective. [REVIEW]Jaime F. Cárdenas-García - 2013 - Biosemiotics 6 (3):337-350.
    Distributed cognition is widely recognized as an approach to the study of all cognition. It identifies the distribution of cognitive processes between persons and technology, among people, and across time in the development of the social and material contexts for thinking. This paper suggests an ectoderm-centric perspective as the basis for distributed cognition, and in so doing redefines distributed cognition as the ability of an organism to interact with its environment for the purpose of satisfying its most basic physiological (internal (...)
  21. Imagination in Dialogue: A Collaborative Method of Self-Inquiry.Maria Ellen Chiaia - 1997 - Dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies
    This dissertation describes and reflects upon the research and development of a method of collaborative imaginal inquiry. In this project, my co-researcher, Ian Grand and I, explored a collaborative, dyadic approach to sandplay work, an imaginal process usually done individually in a clinical setting. It was then broadened to include other forms of collaborative imaginal work and to speculatively explore aspects of self-in-group and self-in-collaboration that have not been previously well documented or reflected upon in the literature. The dissertation is (...)
  22. Mapping Collective Behavior – Beware of Looping.Markus Christen & Peter Brugger - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (1):80-81.
  23. Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension.Andy Clark (ed.) - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    Introduction : brainbound versus extended -- From embodiment to cognitive extension -- The active body -- The negotiable body -- Material symbols -- World, Incorporated -- Boundary disputes -- Mind re-bound -- The cure for cognitive hiccups (HEMC, HEC, HEMC ...) -- Rediscovering the brain -- The limits of embodiment -- Painting, planning, and perceiving -- Disentangling embodiment -- Conclusions : mind-sized bites.
  24. Collective Behaviour.J. I. Cohen - 1939 - The Eugenics Review 30 (4):297.
  25. McDougall, William, The Group Mind. A Sketch of the Principles of Collective Psychology. [REVIEW]Jonas Cohn - 1926 - Société Française de Philosophie, Bulletin 31:601.
  26. Distributed Remembering Through Active Structuring of Activities and Environments.Nils Dahlbäck, Mattias Kristiansson & Fredrik Stjernberg - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (1):153-165.
    In this paper, we consider a few actual cases of mnemonic strategies among older subjects (older than 65). The cases are taken from an ethnographic study, examining how elderly adults cope with cognitive decline. We believe that these cases illustrate that the process of remembering in many cases involve a complex distributed web of processes involving both internal or intracranial and external sources. Our cases illustrate that the nature of distributed remembering is shaped by and subordinated to the dynamic characteristics (...)
  27. Distributed Reasoning: An Analysis of Where Social and Cognitive Worlds Fuse.Mike Dama & Kevin Dunbar - 1996 - In Garrison W. Cottrell (ed.), Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 166--170.
  28. Collective Increase of First Impression Bias.Guillaume Deffuant & Sylvie Huet - 2010 - Complexity 15 (5):NA-NA.
  29. The Anti-Sweatshop Movement: Constructing Corporate Moral Agency in the Global Apparel Industry.Rebecca DeWinter - 2001 - Ethics and International Affairs 15 (2):99–115.
    Through the use of rhetoric linking private economic transactions and international labor and human rights standards, the movement has successfully challenged corporate practices that were previously considered unremarkable.
  30. The Slow Process : A Hypothetical Cognitive Adaptation for Distributed Cognitive Networks.Merlin Donald - 2012 - In Jay Schulkin (ed.), New Directions in Philosophy and Cognitive Science: Adaptation and Cephalic Expression. Palgrave-Macmillan.
  31. The Application of Ward's Psychology to the Legal Problem of Corporate Entity.H. C. Dowdall - 1926 - The Monist 36 (1):111-135.
    The unity of the group mind is a psychoplastic unity. In the group mind subjects are integrated through an object and not objects through a subject. It follows, among many much more important consequences, that a scientific analysis and arrangement of the law relating to corporations should proceed in the manner practically indicated in the Law of Limited Companies, Corporations Sole, Trusts, Bankruptcy, Local Government, and so forth, that is to say, by the estatificatian of interests and not by the (...)
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