It has been claimed in the literature that collective intentionality and group attitudes presuppose some “sense of ‘us’” among the participants (other labels sometimes used are “sense of community,” “communal awareness,” “shared point of view,” or “we-perspective”). While this seems plausible enough on an intuitive level, little attention has been paid so far to the question of what the nature and role of this mysterious “sense of ‘us’” might be. This paper states (and argues for) the following five claims: (1) it is neither the case that the sense in question has the community (or “us”) in its content or as its object nor does the attitude in question presuppose a preexistent community (or “us”) as its subject. (2) The “sense of ‘us’” is plural pre-reflective self-awareness. (3) Plural pre-reflective self-awareness plays the same role in the constitution of a common mind that singular pre-reflective self-awareness plays in the individual mind. (4) The most important conceptions of plural subjects, collective persons, or group agents in the current literature fail to recognize the nature and role of plural self-awareness, and therefore fall short in important respects. (5) In spite of the striking similarities between the plural and the singular mind, there are important differences to consider. The authority of the singular first person point of view has no equivalent in the plural case
Keywords Self-awareness  Collective intentionality  Group mind
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11097-013-9317-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,786
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford University Press.
Self-Reference and Self-Awareness.Sydney S. Shoemaker - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (October):555-67.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Intercorporeity and the First-Person Plural in Merleau-Ponty.Philip J. Walsh - 2020 - Continental Philosophy Review 53 (1):21-47.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Group Mind.Georg Theiner & Wilson Robert - 2013 - In Byron Kaldis (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences. Sage Publications. pp. 401-04.
Inner Time-Consciousness and Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness.Dan Zahavi - 2003 - In Donn Welton (ed.), The New Husserl: A Critical Reader. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 157-180.
Can Brains in Vats Think as a Team?Hans B. Schmid - 2003 - Philosophical Explorations 6 (3):201-218.
We and the Plural Subject.Boudewijn de Bruin - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (2):235-259.
Plural Agents.Bennett W. Helm - 2008 - Noûs 42 (1):17–49.
The Functional Role of Consciousness: A Phenomenological Approach.Uriah Kriegel - 2004 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3 (2):171-93.


Added to PP index

Total views
151 ( #65,843 of 2,425,462 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #87,902 of 2,425,462 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes