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

Mark Phelan, Adam Arico, Shaun B Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-725
Number of pages23
JournalPhenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Fingerprint

Metaphysics
Emotions
Research
Thinking
Discontinuity
Folk
Mental State

Keywords

  • Collective intentionality
  • Experimental philosophy
  • Group minds
  • Linguistic pragmatics
  • Methodology
  • Phenomenal consciousness
  • Philosophy of sociology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Cite this

Thinking things and feeling things : On an alleged discontinuity in folk metaphysics of mind. / Phelan, Mark; Arico, Adam; Nichols, Shaun B.

In: Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 12, No. 4, 12.2013, p. 703-725.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{8720f0090c8049b2ad6e184f43f6adcd,
title = "Thinking things and feeling things: On an alleged discontinuity in folk metaphysics of mind",
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 = "Collective intentionality, Experimental philosophy, Group minds, Linguistic pragmatics, Methodology, Phenomenal consciousness, Philosophy of sociology",
author = "Mark Phelan and Adam Arico and Nichols, {Shaun B}",
year = "2013",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1007/s11097-012-9278-7",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "12",
pages = "703--725",
journal = "Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences",
issn = "1568-7759",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Thinking things and feeling things

T2 - On an alleged discontinuity in folk metaphysics of mind

AU - Phelan, Mark

AU - Arico, Adam

AU - Nichols, Shaun B

PY - 2013/12

Y1 - 2013/12

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Collective intentionality

KW - Experimental philosophy

KW - Group minds

KW - Linguistic pragmatics

KW - Methodology

KW - Phenomenal consciousness

KW - Philosophy of sociology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84889247073&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84889247073&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11097-012-9278-7

DO - 10.1007/s11097-012-9278-7

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84889247073

VL - 12

SP - 703

EP - 725

JO - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

JF - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

SN - 1568-7759

IS - 4

ER -