Thinking things and feeling things: on an alleged discontinuity in folk metaphysics of mind

Authors
Mark Phelan
Lawrence University
Abstract
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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DOI 10.1007/s11097-012-9278-7
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References found in this work BETA

On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Survey-Driven Romanticism.Simon Cullen - 2010 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):275-296.

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Citations of this work BETA

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