, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 89-118
Date: 30 Nov 2010

Genuinely collective emotions

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It is received wisdom in philosophy and the cognitive sciences that individuals can be in emotional states but groups cannot. But why should we accept this view? In this paper, I argue that there is substantial philosophical and empirical support for the existence of collective emotions. Thus, while there is good reason to be skeptical about many ascriptions of collective emotion, I argue that some groups exhibit the computational complexity and informational integration required for being in genuinely emotional states.

This paper has had a long history, and has gone through many revisions on the basis of the compelling criticisms offered by numerous friends, acquaintances, and anonymous referees. Without the helpful criticisms that were voiced by these people, the central arguments in this paper would be far less compelling. Special thanks are due to Adam Arico, Bill Blattner, Dan Dennett, Aaron Garrett, Marcus Hedahl, Justin Junge, Joshua Knobe, Mark Lance, James Mattingly, Ram Neta, Mark Lange, Bill Lycan, Jesse Prinz, Andrea Scarantino, Mikko Salmela, Susanne Sreedhar, Justin Sytsma, and audiences at Georgetown University, Georgia State University, and The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill