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or Cartesian duplicates, that have no body at all. As I sit in my chair I
feel a pressure exerted on my lower back by the back of the chair, and
there is a certain feel to my body when I ¬‚ex the muscles in my leg. But
how would these feel to a being without a body, even a being that was
molecule-for-molecule to me from the neck up? And, picking up on the
grain of determinateness dimension to the inseparability thesis, what rea-
son is there to think that these would have the same feeling that they have
in me? Try as I may, I ¬nd these questions very hard to answer without
simply assuming that they must feel just as they feel in my own case. I
suspect that I am burdened by my externalist commitments, and propo-
nents of the individualistic view of phenomenology may ¬nd it easier to
make sense of these cases than do those hampered by externalism. But
if so, this reinforces my more general concern that the method of imag-
inative evocation generates views of phenomenology that are subject to
philosophical contamination.
To sum up this part of the argument: There may be aspects to phe-
nomenology that are individualistic, but, more importantly, there are
Thinking Through and Beyond the Body
260

aspects that likely are externalist. Critically, some cases of perceptual ex-
perience, a general category that plays a central role in both the argu-
ments of Loar and of Horgan and Tienson, appear to fall into the latter
category. Again, this is not to say that there is no truth to the claim that
phenomenal intentionality is narrow, but to suggest that it is a claim true
in a signi¬cantly more restricted range of cases than its proponents have
thought.
To have come this far, however, is to be in a position to comment on
the further claim that phenomenal intentionality is more fundamental in
at least certain respects than wide content. Minimally, this claim will have
to be hedged in ways that correspond to the restricted domain in which
phenomenal intentionality is narrow. But if externalism is true of the
phenomenology of at least some perceptual content, as I have suggested,
then given the centrality of this case to the conception of phenomenal
intentionality more generally, we may wonder what content remains to
this claim of “basicness.”


6 how to be a good phenomenologist
The fruitfulness of applying a divide and conquer strategy to the inten-
tional and the phenomenal can be, and has been, reasonably questioned.
In this chapter, I have been concerned primarily with recent views that
go further than such questioning and make speci¬c proposals about the
relationship between the intentionality and phenomenology of particu-
lar mental states. In particular, I have focused on the inseparability thesis
that Horgan and Tienson have articulated, and the general conception
of phenomenal intentionality that they share with Loar, as well as Loar™s
own way of further articulating that conception. There are certainly other
possible ways to articulate the relationship between intentionality and
phenomenology. Because I have not tried to show that the views of
Horgan, Tienson, and Loar suffer from some deep, general, ¬‚aw, I do not
take the argument of this chapter to express any overarching skepticism
about such work on these two pillars of the mental. However, there are
several general problem areas that can be marked “fragile” for now for
those making alternative proposals.
Past attempts to defend or chalk out an individualistic perspective on
the mental have typically focused on intentionality. The main concern
about such positions is with the notion of narrow content itself. Because
the chief proposals for articulating that notion “ the narrow function the-
ory of Stephen White and Jerry Fodor and the narrow conceptual role
Intentionality and Phenomenology 261

semantics of Ned Block and Brian Loar “ are generally acknowledged as
failures, one hope has been that the renewed attention to the phenome-
nal would provide the basis for a reinvigorated expression of the narrow
content program. But it seems that the notion of phenomenology itself is
as contestable between individualists and externalists as is that of inten-
tionality. If this is true, then the idea of reviving narrow intentionality via
an appeal to phenomenology inherits that contestability.21
Perhaps the initial surprise is that phenomenology itself should re-
main somewhat mysterious. In the good old days, when the phenomenal
was neglected for the intentional, intentionality was thought to be more
theoretically loaded, subject more to the grinding of particular axes, than
phenomenology, in part because of the immediacy, directness, and ¬rst-
person intimacy of the phenomenal. Recall Horgan and Tienson™s claim
that “[i]f you pay attention to your own experience, we think you will
come to appreciate” the inseparability of the intentional and the phe-
nomenal. Yet such attention and what it reveals are more contestable
than one might initially think.
In mentioning Wilhelm Wundt in passing at the end of section 3,
and so alluding to the introspectionist tradition in early experimental
psychology to which Wundt was central, I have implicitly suggested that
some of the problems in thinking about phenomenology parallel those
that Wundt faced in thinking about the nature of introspection. If the
advice on how to be a good introspectionist early in the twentieth century
was “Don™t listen to the psychologists,” then the corresponding advice on
how to be a good phenomenologist early in the twenty-¬rst century might
be “Don™t listen to the philosophers.” And while it is not all the advice
one could hope for, it might be advice enough for now.
part four


THE COGNITIVE METAPHOR IN THE
BIOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
11

Group Minds in Historical Perspective




1 group minds and the cognitive metaphor
in the biological and social sciences
There are two strands to our thinking about where the mind begins and
ends, and the role that the individual has in demarcating that boundary.
First, individuals are paradigmatic subjects or bearers of mental states:
They are the things, perhaps the only things, which literally have minds.
Minds are where, perhaps only where, people are. Second, individuals
serve as some sort of boundary for the mind. Minds are located inside
individuals, and we do not need to consider the body or the extracranial
world in theorizing about the nature of minds. The argument of Parts Two
and Three has been that this second strand to our thinking about the
relationship between individuals and minds is mistaken. For the most
part, this rejection of the mind as bounded by the individual has gone
hand-in-hand with the acceptance of minds as belonging to individuals.
In Part Four, this latter view is reconsidered. I shall take seriously the
idea that individuals are not the only kind of thing that has a mind. In
particular, I focus on the idea that groups can have minds. Doing so will
take us beyond the cognitive to both the biological and social sciences.
For it is in these other parts of the fragile sciences that the idea of a group
mind has a rich history, a history appealed to in a number of contempo-
rary discussions. In this chapter, I consider the history, and in the next
the contemporary revivals of what I shall call the group mind hypothesis.
The idea that there are group minds will strike many as either an
ontological extravagance or an outright absurdity with which neither
biologists nor social scientists need concern themselves. Yet this group

265
Cognitive Metaphor in Biology and Social Science
266

mind hypothesis was prominent both in social psychology and social the-
ory in the late nineteenth century and in the study of social insects and
community ecology in the early part of the twentieth century. It was de-
fended by many of the most in¬‚uential thinkers in these ¬elds and gained
support from the range of resemblances between at least some groups
and individuals. Moreover, contemporary defenses of the group mind
hypothesis can be (and have been) expressed as part of more systematic
views that are reshaping the ways in which parts of biology and the social
sciences are conceptualized and practiced.
For example, expressed as the idea that there may be group-level cogni-
tive adaptations, the group mind hypothesis forges a link between evolu-
tionary psychology, based on the claim that the mind is subject to natural
selection in much the way that the body is, and recent work on the levels
of selection, which has become pluralistic and endorsed the claim that
natural selection operates at multiple levels, including that of the group.
And when expressed in terms of the place of institutions and cultural
practices in directing whole styles of cognition, the group mind hypoth-
esis ¬nds application both in anthropology and in the social studies of
science. Taking such claims seriously will enable a discussion of some
deep and interesting issues, such as the sense in which cognition is so-
cial, the relationship between evolution and cognition, and the interplay
between culture, evolution, and sociality.
The group mind hypothesis itself can be understood in two different
ways. First, it can be interpreted literally as saying that groups have minds
in just the way that individuals have minds. On this view, groups are a sort
of higher-order individual and function as such in biological or social
theory. Groups may not have minds as rich as our own, much as we might
think animals have just some subset of the full range of psychological
states that we have. But however restricted be their minds in scope and
richness, groups are mind-laden entities of some kind. Alternatively, the
hypothesis can be viewed as an instance of what I shall call the cognitive
metaphor, the idea that we metaphorically extend our conception of mind
from our paradigmatic individuals to things “ in this case groups “ that
are not individuals. On this view, groups are suf¬ciently like individuals in
some respects that it proves useful or even inevitable that we treat them as
if they had a psychology, as if they were mind-laden entities, when in fact
they are not. They have minds by courtesy, in virtue of our application of
a cognitive metaphor to them.
The literalist interpretation makes most direct sense of the appeal to
certain groups of organisms as superorganisms in the biological sciences,
Group Minds in Historical Perspective 267

and some human social groups (the crowd, an army, the nation) as mani-
festing a variety of individual-level properties. The metaphorical reading
locates the group mind hypothesis among other instances of the cog-
nitive metaphor within the biological and social sciences. These range
from the view of genes as sel¬sh or competitive and cells as recognizing,
remembering, preferring, and seeking certain other cells or molecules
within the biological sciences, to ascriptions of institutions and human
social practices as rational or friendly and corporations as morally and
legally responsible.
Each of these interpretations is helpful in making sense of the uses to
which the group mind hypothesis is put in the fragile sciences, and the
differences between them is not as sharp as one might initially suspect.
Hence, I shall rely on both of them over the next pair of chapters and will
not enter into any discussion of which is the correct way to understand
the group mind hypothesis.


2 two traditions
In order to articulate a thesis that can be understood in these two ways,
consider the following as a statement of the group mind hypothesis:

Groups of individual organisms can have or can be thought of as having minds in
something like the way in which individual organisms themselves can have minds.

The literalist can be seen as removing the “can be thought of ” caveat
and sharpening the “something like” in this statement of the group mind
hypothesis, while the proponent of the cognitive metaphor interpretation
places emphasis on these softening aspects of the hypothesis.
The group mind hypothesis was held by many of the founders of so-
cial psychology and the social sciences more generally, including William
McDougall in the former and Emile Durkheim in the latter. The view
of human social groups acting in ways that were guided by their dis-
tinctive mental characteristics and activity was widespread at the turn
of the twentieth century in thinking about society and its foundations.
All such views, which I will refer to as forming part of the collective psy-
chology tradition of thought, were developed in the broader context of
re¬‚ecting on the relationship between individuals and the societies that
they constituted. Those in the collective psychology tradition typically
defended some sort of nonreductionist view of this relationship. Despite
their otherwise diverging interests and orientations, these theorists were
committed to a view of the communal or collective aspect of psychology as
Cognitive Metaphor in Biology and Social Science
268

autonomous and separable from both physiology and the experimental
psychology that derived from it. The psychology of collectives was emer-
gent from and thus not reducible to the psychology of the individuals in
those collectives and was to be studied as such.
The group mind hypothesis has an independent origin in founda-
tional work in ecology and on the social insects in the ¬rst twenty years of
the twentieth century. The idea at the core of what I shall call the superor-
ganism tradition in evolutionary biology is that in certain groups of living
things “ in particular, in colonies of Hymenoptera “ it is the group rather
than the individual organism that lives in those groups, that functions as
an integrated unit, having many of the properties that individual organ-
isms possess in other species. Individual bees, ants, and wasps function
more like organs or (parts of ) bodily systems in those species. Colonies
are independent, self-regulating groups organized to achieve speci¬c bio-
logical goals “ such as food collection and distribution, nest construction
and maintenance, and reproduction “ via dedicated behavioral strate-
gies, where some of these strategies and the functions they perform can
properly be thought of as psychological or mental. Since the members
of these colonies often lack any or all of these goals and the accompany-
ing strategies, these strategies and goals are emergent properties of the
colony, in much the way that a group mind was thought to be emergent
from individual minds in the collective psychology tradition in the social
sciences. The Harvard entomologist William Morton Wheeler is arguably
the key ¬gure in the superorganism tradition.
The collective psychology and superorganism traditions, as I am con-
struing them, each extend over some ¬fty or so years, and receive their
most crisp and in¬‚uential expressions, respectively, shortly before and
shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. Authors working within
each of these traditions are diverse both in how they introduce the idea
of a group mind and what they are motivated by. The work within the
two traditions that seems to me of most interest in discussing the con-
temporary revival of the group mind hypothesis shares with that revival
a common explanationist commitment that might be characterized as
follows. Certain sorts of groups themselves have the ability to behave or
act as uni¬ed, integrated units, and these actions are properly or best
explained by positing a group mind. It is the group that behaves or acts,
and the cause of this behavior or action is, in some sense, the mind of
the group. I shall use this commitment to explanationism to help bring
out aspects of both traditions of relevance to contemporary claims about
group minds or group-level cognitive adaptations.
Group Minds in Historical Perspective 269

Both of these traditions postulate minds as emergent properties of
groups of organisms. Within these traditions, minds are group-level traits.
Yet there is a difference between the traditions on this issue important
enough for our later discussion to mark with some further terminology
now. In the collective psychology tradition, a group mind is what I will
call a multilevel trait, since the mind is claimed to exist at both the level
of the group and at the level of the individuals comprising the group. By
contrast, in the superorganism tradition, a group mind is a group-only trait,
in that it is claimed that it is only groups of social insects, not individual
members of those groups, which possess a mind.
Consider a nonpsychological illustration of the distinction between

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