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Intersubjectivity and Collective Consciousness

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Abstract:

This paper explores some connections between the philosophically central topic of intersubjectivity highlighted in John Ziman's article and the notion of collective consciousness, which has received very little formal attention in mainstream philosophy. The deconstruction of the Cartesian model of isolated spheres of consciousness which the intersubjective viewpoint brings about is supported by considerations from Kant's critical account of transcendental psychology. The phenomenon of empathy, an essential component in the achievement of intersubjective consensus, is related to the possibility of shared experiences, i.e. of two or more individuals participating in the same conscious experience. The use of mental concept-words applied to collectives of persons is interpreted as more than a mere metaphor; this interpretation is supported by comparison with complex collective behaviours in other social species. It is necessary to say that this paper very much represents work in progress-- other commitments have prevented the author from supporting many of the points made with references or further analysis at this stage, and it is hoped merely that this exploratory essay will provide useful ideas for further research.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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