If materialism is true, the United States is probably conscious

Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1697-1721 (2015)
Authors
Eric Schwitzgebel
University of California, Riverside
Abstract
If you’re a materialist, you probably think that rabbits are conscious. And you ought to think that. After all, rabbits are a lot like us, biologically and neurophysiologically. If you’re a materialist, you probably also think that conscious experience would be present in a wide range of naturally-evolved alien beings behaviorally very similar to us even if they are physiologically very different. And you ought to think that. After all, to deny it seems insupportable Earthly chauvinism. But a materialist who accepts consciousness in weirdly formed aliens ought also to accept consciousness in spatially distributed group entities. If she then also accepts rabbit consciousness, she ought to accept the possibility of consciousness even in rather dumb group entities. Finally, the United States would seem to be a rather dumb group entity of the relevant sort. If we set aside our morphological prejudices against spatially distributed group entities, we can see that the United States has all the types of properties that materialists tend to regard as characteristic of conscious beings
Keywords Metaphysics  Consciousness  Phenomenology  Group mind  Superorganism  Collective consciousness  Metaphilosophy
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-014-0387-8
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References found in this work BETA

The Origin of Concepts.Susan Carey - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Action in Perception.Alva Noë - 2005 - MIT Press.
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.

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