AuthorKramer, Max F.
AffiliationDepartment of Philosophy, University of Arizona
Program in Cognitive Science, University of Arizona
Integrated information theory
The combination problem
MetadataShow full item record
CitationKramer, M. F. (2021). What it might be like to be a group agent. Neuroethics, 1-11.
Rights© Springer Nature B.V. 2021.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractMany theorists have defended the claim that collective entities can attain genuine agential status. If collectives can be agents, this opens up a further question: can they be conscious? That is, is there something that it is like to be them? Eric Schwitzgebel (Philosophical Studies 172: 1697–1721, 2015) argues that yes, collective entities (including the United States, taken as a whole), may well be significantly conscious. Others, including Kammerer (Philosophia 43: 1047–1057, 2015), Tononi and Koch (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 370: 20140167–20140167, 2015) , and List (Noûs 52: 295–319, 2018) reject the claim. List does so on the basis of Tononi’s Integrated Information Theory of consciousness (Encyclopedia of Consciousness, 403–416, 2009). I argue here that List’s rejection is too quick, and that groups can, at least in principle, display the kind of informational integration we might think is necessary for consciousness. However, group consciousness will likely differ substantially from the individual experiences that give rise to it. This requires the defender of group consciousness to face up to a similar combination problem as the panpsychist. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. part of Springer Nature.
Note12 month embargo; first published online 2 March 2021
VersionFinal accepted manuscript