This book develops a novel approach to distributed cognition and collective intentionality. It is argued that collective mentality should be only be posited where specialized subroutines are integrated in a way that yields skillful goal-directed behaviour that is sensitive to concerns that are relevant to a group as such.
We live in an age of scientific collaboration, popular uprisings, failing political parties, and increasing corporate power. Many of these kinds of collective action derive from the decisions of intelligent and powerful leaders, and many others emerge as a result of the aggregation of individual interests. But genuinely collective mentality remains a seductive possibility. This book develops a novel approach to distributed cognition and collective intentionality. It argues that genuine cognition requires the capacity to engage in flexible goal-directed behavior, and that this requires specialized representational systems that are integrated in a way that yields fluid and skillful coping with environmental contingencies. In line with this argument, the book claims that collective mentality should be posited where and only where specialized subroutines are integrated to yields goal-directed behavior that is sensitive to the concerns that are relevant to a group as such. Unlike traditional claims about collective intentionality, this approach reveals that there are many kinds of collective minds: some groups have cognitive capacities that are more like those that we find in honeybees or cats than they are like those that we find in people. Indeed, groups are unlikely to be "believers" in the fullest sense of the term, and understanding why this is the case sheds new light on questions about collective intentionality and collective responsibility.
In Relationship Thinking, N. J. Enfield outlines a framework for analyzing social interaction and its linguistic, cultural, and cognitive underpinnings by focusing on human relationships. This is a naturalistic approach to human sociality, grounded in the systematic study of real-time data from social interaction in everyday life. Many of the illustrative examples and analyses in the book are a result of the author's long-term field work in Laos. Enfield promotes an interdisciplinary approach to studying language, culture, and mind, building on simple but powerful semiotic principles and concentrating on three points of conceptual focus. The first is human agency: the combination of flexibility and accountability, which defines our possibilities for social action and relationships, and which makes the fission and fusion of social units possible. The second is enchrony: the timescale of conversation in which our social relationships are primarily enacted. The third is human sociality: a range of human propensities for social interaction and enduring social relations, grounded in collective commitment to shared norms. Enfield's approach cuts through common dichotomies such as 'cognitive' versus 'behaviorist', or 'public' versus 'private', arguing instead that these are indispensable sides of single phenomena. The result is a set of conceptual tools for analyzing real-time social interaction and linking it with enduring relationships and their social contexts. The book shows that even - or perhaps especially - the most mundane social interactions yield rich insights into language, culture, and mind.
Human beings act together in characteristic ways that matter to us a great deal. This book explores the conceptual, metaphysical and normative foundations of such sociality. It argues that appeal to the planning structures involved in our individual, temporally extended agency provides substantial resources for understanding these foundations of our sociality.
The Routledge Handbook of Collective Intentionality
The Routledge Handbook of Collective Intentionality provides a wide-ranging survey of topics in a rapidly expanding area of interdisciplinary research. It consists of 36 chapters, written exclusively for this volume, by an international team of experts. What is distinctive about the study of collective intentionality within the broader study of social interactions and structures is its focus on the conceptual and psychological features of joint or shared actions and attitudes, and their implications for the nature of social groups and their functioning. This Handbook fully captures this distinctive nature of the field and how it subsumes the study of collective action, responsibility, reasoning, thought, intention, emotion, phenomenology, decision-making, knowledge, trust, rationality, cooperation, competition, and related issues, as well as how these underpin social practices, organizations, conventions, institutions and social ontology. Like the field, the Handbook is interdisciplinary, drawing on research in philosophy, cognitive science, linguistics, legal theory, anthropology, sociology, computer science, psychology, economics, and political science. Finally, the Handbook promotes several specific goals: (1) it provides an important resource for students and researchers interested in collective intentionality; (2) it integrates work across disciplines and areas of research as it helps to defines the shape and scope of an emerging area of research; (3) it advances the study of collective intentionality.
Argues that the key distinction between human and nonhuman social cognition consists in our complex, diverse and flexible capacities to shape each other's minds in ways that make them easier to interpret.
From Individual to Collective Intentionality
Acting together requires collective intentions. The contributions to this volume seek to critically assess or to enrich theories of collective intentionality by exploring topics such as collective belief, mutual coordination, and the explanation of group behavior.
Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? How do we explain their behaviour? Can we treat them as accountable for their actions? List and Pettit offer original arguments, grounded in cutting-edge work on social choice, economics, and philosophy, to show there really are group agents, over and above the individual agents who compose them.
Theories of Human Communication
The Eleventh Edition is organized around: (1) elements of the basic communication model—communicator, message, medium, and “beyond” human communication; and (2) communication contexts—relationship, group, organization, health, culture, and society. A new chapter discusses four frameworks by which theories can be organized; students can see how theories contribute to and are impacted by larger issues about the nature of inquiry. To provide comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of theories, the authors surveyed articles in communication journals published over the last five years. Each chapter covers an average of 13 theories, half of which are new to this edition. New areas covered include health, social media, and “beyond human communication”—communication between humans and nature, humans and objects, humans and technology, humans and the divine. “From the Source” boxes give students a look at the theorists behind the theories—their inspirations, motivations, and goals. Written in an accessible style, the book is ideal for upper-division undergraduate classes and as a comprehensive summary of major theories for the graduate level.
The era of collective intelligence has begun in earnest. While others have written about the wisdom of crowds, an army of Davids, and smart mobs, this collection of essays for the first time brings together fifty-five pioneers in the emerging discipline of collective intelligence. They provide a base of tools for connecting people, producing high-functioning teams, collaborating at multiple scales, and encouraging effective peer-production. Emerging models are explored for digital deliberative democracy, self-governance, legislative transparency, true-cost accounting, and the ethical use of open sources and methods. See also INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity & Sustainability, and THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust.