The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the postulation of irreducible, distributed cognitive systems (or group minds as they are also known in the literature) is necessary for the successful explanatory practice of cognitive science and sociology. Towards this end, and with an eye specifically on the phenomenon of distributed cognition, the debate over reductionism versus emergence is examined from the perspective of Dynamical Systems Theory (DST). The motivation for this novel approach is threefold. Firstly, DST is particularly popular amongst cognitive scientists who work on modelling collective behaviors. Secondly, DST can deliver two distinct arguments in support of the claim that the presence of mutual interactions between group members necessitates the postulation of the corresponding group entity. Thirdly, DST can also provide a succinct understanding of the way group entities exert downward causation on their individual members. The outcome is a naturalist account of the emergent, and thereby irreducible, nature of distributed cognitive systems that avoids the reductionists’ threat of epiphenomenalism, while being well in line with materialism.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
From a dialectical perspective, the term ‘Distributed Cognitive Systems’ should be preferred over ‘Group Minds’. The reason is the common objection that minds are usually associated with consciousness, whereas groups are unlikely to enjoy consciousness over and above the consciousness of their individual members. The force of this worry, however, is not clear enough. Firstly because group consciousness may in fact be possible, and secondly because, even if impossible, its absence may not be the difference that makes the difference: Not all parts of our brains are conscious after all; accordingly not all parts of groups may need to be conscious in order to qualify as minds (for example, it may be sufficient that some parts, such as their individual members, are conscious). Moreover, the above objection looses considerable ground if one is willing to take the possibility of philosophical zombies seriously: If philosophical zombies are possible, then consciousness does not seem to be necessary for mindedness (see also Tollefsen 2006, fn. 11, on this point). Nevertheless, following Theiner et al. (2010, p. 379), the term ‘distributed cognitive systems’ will be here preferred over the term ‘group minds’ for the reason that no one really knows what individual minds are, which makes the idea of group minds much harder to establish. On the contrary, there is a better grasp of what specific cognitive processes (such as memory, decision-making, problem-solving, knowing, etc.) consist in, such that, should there be collective entities that manifest these cognitive processes, then we can claim that the corresponding entities may at least qualify as distributed cognitive systems.
‘Entirely novel’ behavior here means behavior which implies some sort of substance or property dualism that would be inconsistent with what Stephan (2006, 486) calls the principle of “Physical Monism: Entities existing or coming into being in the universe consist solely of physical constituents. Properties, dispositions, behaviors, or structures classified as emergent are instantiated by systems consisting exclusively of physical entities.” As Stephan points out, however, there are a number of other conceptions of novelty associated with emergence that are entirely compatible with Physical Monism.
The term ‘materialism’ is often used interchangeably with the term ‘physicalism’, according to which all properties are, or supervene on, physical properties (for an overview, see Stoljar 2015). The term ‘physicalism’ is quite ambiguous, however, and, usually, it is very closely associated with the science of physics, thereby creating the mistaken impression that all properties are reducible to the properties recognized by the language of physics. As we shall see later on, such a reading of physicalism is problematic and largely responsible for the uncharitable and mistaken interpretation of many emergentist claims. Accordingly, it is here important to insist on the subtle distinction between material and physical properties—since the latter are only a subset of the former—as well as on the distinction between the corresponding views of ‘materialism’ and ‘physicalism’. For more details, see Sect. 4.
In what follows, the answers to the above set of questions will be specifically concerned with the phenomenon of distributed cognition so as to provide a naturalistic approach to the emergent status of group entities and group properties (i.e., the paper’s main target). Mutatis mutandis, however, the argument I present can be in principle applied to any case where emergence is invoked in order to understand the behavior of hierarchically organized multi-component entities.
Theiner and O’Connor (2010), Theiner et al. (2010) and Theiner (2013a) provide an account of group emergence in terms of (a) the absence of intelligent design, (b) the manifestation of multiple realizability and most importantly (c) a failure of aggregativity, in Wimsatt’s (Wimsatt 1986) sense. As Wimsatt (2000) himself acknowledges, however, the problem with his approach to emergence is that it is compatible with reductionism (and thereby does not exclude the threat of epiphenomenalism). For a further critique of the above approach to emergence, see Ludwig (2015). The present account is compatible with all of the above senses of emergence, but it goes further by focusing on DST in order to provide a naturalist understanding of downward causation that can clearly resist the reductionist critique of epiphenomenalism.
For a number of interesting treatments of ‘downward causation’ see Murphy et al. (2009).
For an excellent overview, see O’Connor and Wong (2012).
As Stephan (1999, 49–50) points out, irreducibility entails unpredictability “since irreducible properties are eo ipso unpredictable in principle before their first appearance.” Moreover, Stephan (52–53) notes that there can be two reasons for which a system might be irreducible: (a) Its behavior is neither micro- nor macro-scopically analyzable or (b) the behavior of its component parts does not follow from their behavior in isolation or in different constellations. The present account falls under the second version of irreducibility, which is stronger than the first, because it implies ‘downward causation’.
As noted above, however, it is preferable to avoid such categorization. The present account—whose distinctive feature is that it is motivated by DST—should be rather viewed as a complement to the available accounts of emergence and the choice to classify it under any of the existing categories should be left to the informed reader. It should also be noted that many of the ideas to follow appear to be in good fit with emergentist ideas expressed by Wilson (2013) and Craver and Bechtel (2007).
Even though this formulation of supervenience is uncharitable to arguments for emergence, we can use it here in order to consider the reductionist argument in its strongest form. In Sect. 4, we will return to the formulation of supervenience to show how it should be amended on the face of the arguments and analysis that follows in this and the following section.
For an overview on ‘multiple realizability’, see (Bickle 2013).
Other examples of multiply realized social (but not necessarily socio-cognitive) properties are being an ‘army officer’, ‘being allies’ and ‘go to war’ (for example, even ant colonies go to war: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/08/london-zoo-ants-1924). For more details and examples see Ruben (1985) and Tollefsen (2015).
For a general introduction to Dynamical Systems Theory see (Abraham et al. 1990).
For ease of reference, Table 1 includes the definitions of most of the terms that figure in the discussion to follow. They are listed in the same order they appear in the main text (starting with the most basic terms and moving on to the more complex ones).
Craver and Bechtel (2007) make similar remarks in the context of a discussion on mechanisms and downward causation.
“Limit sets and basins of attraction may deform and move around a bit, but the new flow will be qualitatively similar (i.e., topologically equivalent, or homeomorphic) to the old one” (Beer 1995, p. 180).
In (Arrow et al. 2000), the authors go through several examples of how DST could be used to model the behavior and properties of groups in terms of collective variables. Some of the suggested examples include the quantity or rate of production of the group’s product; the quality of the group product; the temporal features of conflict, such as speed of escalation and de-escalation; the discrepancies between member behavior and shared normative expectations; the development of group task strategies; leadership structures; patterns of communication, and so on. For more examples and details, see pp. 134–137 and pp. 148–156.
An anonymous referee points out that, instead of outlining how cognitive science can employ the main concepts and techniques of DST in order to model the behaviour of distributed cognitive systems such as TMSs, it would be preferable to actually offer such a detailed model. While offering such a model would no doubt add to the plausibility of the paper’s overall argument, exploring and developing such a model is beyond both the scope of the present paper and the available space. The present paper aims to demonstrate that should DST be a promising tool for modelling distributed cognitive systems such as TMSs, then it is possible to provide a naturalistically respectable argument for the emergent, irreducible nature of distributed cognitive systems as well as a rigorous understanding of the downward causation that such collective systems exert on their individual members (for more details see Sects. 3.2, 3.3 and 4). Similarly, offering a successful DST model of a distributed cognitive system such as a TMS would add to the prospects of DST as a successful tool for modelling collective systems in general and distributed cognitive systems in particular. Nevertheless, as the above notes and many of the studies that are cited in the introduction of the paper indicate, there is a fast growing body of research (e.g., Raczaszek-Leonardi and Kelso 2008; Fusaroli et al. 2014a, b; Fusaroli and Tylén 2014, 2016; Tylén et al. 2013) that has already started employing DST concepts in order to model collective cognition and behaviour and, indeed, several of these studies (e.g., Schmidt et al. 1998; Coey et al. 2012; Schmidt and Richardson 2008; Duarte et al. 2013a, b; Richardson, Dale and March 2014) have been successful in providing considerably detailed DST models of collective phenomena such as sports team performance and rhythmic coordination. Within the literature, therefore, there is growing evidence attesting to the promise of DST as a successful tool for modeling the behavior of distributed systems such as TMSs, which, in addition to strengthening the present paper’s overall argument, offers strong incentive for carrying out future empirical studies in this exciting direction.
Rupert has pressed this objection against group cognition in a number of places (2005, forthcominga, forthcomingb).
In other words, the underlying group includes as its proper parts the cognitive systems of all the interacting individuals. An anonymous referee notes that this raises the question of how the different, interacting levels of cognitive systems stand in relation to each other. Briefly, the behaviour of the distributed cognitive system supervenes on the behaviour of the underlying individuals’ cognitive systems. At the same time, the behaviour of the individuals’ cognitive systems is affected, via downward causation, by the activity of the distributed cognitive system they are parts of. For more details, see Sect. 4.
Theiner (forthcoming) distinguishes between several approaches to group cognition. ADC would fall under GC6, i.e., “the Dynamical Stance”.
Though note a significant difference: the Social Parity Principle holds that the relevant process is cognitive, because it would count as cognitive were it to be performed within the agent’s head. P3 of ADC does not put forward such an additional criterion regarding the locus of individual cognition. This is an advantage of ADC, because as Ludwig (2015) argues, this additional appeal to brain-bound cognition invites a number of problems.
For an overview of behaviorism, see Graham (2015).
For details on the debate on the ‘mark of the cognitive’, how it may be used against the hypotheses of extended and distributed cognition, and the considerable difficulty to come up with an unproblematic account for such a concept, see Clark (2010), Menary (2006), Adams and Aizawa (2001, 2008, 2010), Ross and Ladyman (2010) as well as Rupert (2011). On a different but related note, an anonymous referee points out that Huebner who supports, in Theiner’s (forthcoming) terminology, the “computational stance” to group cognition would not be satisfied by the appeal to attitudinal behaviorism. Huebner additionally requires that the relevant cognitive task be performed on the basis of collective mental representations. However, the general dynamicist approach to cognition and the “dynamical stance” to group cognition (Theiner forthcoming) that the present approach falls under (see also fn. 22) avoid appealing to the indeterminate notion of mental representations, let alone to collective mental representations [for an overview on the debate of mental representations, as well as their relation to the “computational” and “dynamical stance”, see (Pitt 2013)]. Appealing to mental representations therefore marks a fundamental methodological difference between the “dynamical” and the “computational stance” to cognition in general and group cognition in particular. As a side note, it is worth noting that cognitive scientists hardly ever appeal to the presence of mental representations in order to assert that a system qualifies as a cognitive system, precisely because there is no consensus (either within cognitive science or philosophy of mind) as to what mental representations are supposed to be.
This is not to say that all multiply realizable properties will lead to the postulation of higher-level entities. Following Fodor’s (1974, 1997) rationale, if there are only a few realizing states, or if those states display some common features, the reduction of the higher-level properties to lower-level ones may still be performed unproblematically. If, however, the several possible underlying bases of a higher level property are an otherwise unrelated combination of many underlying concepts and terms (as is the case of properties that are both multiply and wildly realizable), then postulating the higher-level systems will be necessary for the reason explained above. Conversely, not all properties of every dynamical system are going to be multiply realizable. Whether this is going to be the case or not will each time depend on how easy it is for the parameter space of the target system to exceed bifurcation points. When small changes in the parameter space of a system are likely to cause bifurcations in its state space, the system will be less likely to be multiply realizable.
An alternative way to put the idea is to express it in the following two steps: (a) individual-level properties and linear relations are necessary 'enabling' conditions; (b) once group level properties are in place, due to non-linear interactions between the individual members, they (group properties) can have distinct downward-causal effects on the individual members of the group.
It should be here noted that the above principle refers to local, rather than global supervenience. That is, the physical (biological and psychological) description of two group entities might be identical without them being sociologically identical. Nevertheless, if, in addition to their physical (biological and psychological) properties, two group entities also share the same sociological (yet still material) properties, they will also be sociologically identical. This is a form of local supervenience, because the sociological properties that determine whether the relevant group may qualify as a group entity in its own right are properties whose occurrence or absence depends only on the (non-linear) interactions of the components of the relevant group and no other external (global) factors constitutively affect their manifestation.
It is for this same reason that, in Sect. 1, it was important to draw the subtle distinction between ‘physicalism’ and ‘materialism’. The difference is that, according to materialsm, all properties are, or supervene on, material—as opposed to specifically physical—properties. See also fn. 3.
It is worth pointing out that the present approach to downward causation is not so different from Craver and Bechtel’s (2007) approach to top-down causation as constitution. Craver and Bechtel argue that top-down causation is the restraints of mechanisms on their component parts. In the absence of the parts, there would be no overall system to constrain their subsequent behavior. This means that there is a symmetrical relationship between parts and the mechanisms they give rise to. Craver and Bechtel further note, however, that causal relationships have been traditionally thought of as asymmetrical relations. Top-down causation, which is symmetrical, should therefore be understood in terms of constitution rather than in causal terms.
Abraham, F. S., Abraham, R. H., & Shaw, C. (1990). A visual introduction to dynamical systems theory for psychology. Santa Cruz, CA: Aerial Pr.
Adams, F., & Aizawa, K. (2001). The bounds of cognition. Philosophical Psychology, 14(1), 43–64.
Adams, F., & Aizawa, K. (2008). The bounds of cognition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Adams, F., & Aizawa, K. (2010). Defending the bounds of cognition. In R. Menary (Ed.), The extended mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Arrow, H., McGrath, J., & Berdahl, J. (2000). Small groups as complex systems: Formation, coordination, development, and adaptation. London: Sage Publications.
Attanasi, A., Cavagna, A., Del Castello, L., Giardina, I., Jelic, A., Melillo, S., et al. (2015). Emergence of collective changes in travel direction of starling flocks from individual birds’ fluctuations. Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 12(108), 20150319.
Barnier, A. J., Sutton, J., Harris, C. B., & Wilson, R. A. (2008). A conceptual and empirical framework for the social distribution of cognition: The case of memory. Cognitive Systems Research, 9(1–2), 33–51. doi:10.1016/j.cogsys.2007.07.002.
Becco, C., Vandewalle, N., Delcourt, J., & Poncin, P. (2006). Experimental evidences of a structural and dynamical transition in fish school. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 367, 487–493.
Beckermann, A., Flohr, H., & Kim, J. (1992). Emergence or Reduction?: Essays on the Prospects of Nonreductive Physicalism. New York: Walter de Gruyter.
Beer, R. D. (1995). A dynamical systems perspective on agent-environment interaction. Artificial Intelligence, 72(1–2), 173–215. doi:10.1016/0004-3702(94)00005-L.
Bickle, J. (2013). Multiple realizability. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2013). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2013/entries/multiple-realizability/.
Bonabeau, E., & Meyer, C. (2001). Swarm intelligence: A whole new way to think about business. Harvard Business Review, 79(5), 106–115.
Bressler, S. L., & Kelso, J. A. S. (2001). Cortical coordination dynamics and cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 5(1), 26–36. doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01564-3.
Campbell, D. T. (1974). Downward causation in hierarchically organised biological systems. In F. J. Ayala & T. Dobzhansky (Eds.), Studies in the philosophy of biology: Reduction and related problems. London: Macmillan.
Campbell, R. J., & Bickhard, M. H. (2011). Physicalism, emergence and downward causation. Axiomathes, 21(1), 33–56.
Chemero, A. (2009). Radical embodied cognitive science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Clark, A. (2010). Coupling, constitution, and the cognitive kind: A reply to Adams and Aizawa. In R. Menary (Ed.), The extended mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Coey, C. A., Varlet, M., & Richardson, M. J. (2012). Coordination dynamics in a socially situated nervous system. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 6, 164.
Cooke, N. J., Gorman, J. C., Myers, C. W., & Duran, J. L. (2013). Interactive team cognition. Cognitive science, 37(2), 255–285.
Corradini, A., & O’Connor, T. (Eds.). (2010). Emergence in science and philosophy. New York: Routledge.
Craver, C. F., & Bechtel, W. (2007). Top-down causation without top-down causes. Biology and Philosophy, 22(4), 547–563. doi:10.1007/s10539-006-9028-8.
Dale, R., Fusaroli, R., Duran, N., & Richardson, D. C. (2013). The self-organization of human interaction. Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 59, 43–95.
Dale, R., & Spivey, M. J. (2006). Unraveling the dyad: Using recurrence analysis to explore patterns of syntactic coordination between children and caregivers in conversation. Language Learning, 56(3), 391–430. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2006.00372.x.
Davidson, D. (1995). Laws and cause. Dialectica, 49(2–4), 263–280. doi:10.1111/j.1746-8361.1995.tb00165.x.
Davidson, D. (2002). Essays on Actions and Events: Philosophical Essays Volume 1 (New Ed edition.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Dennett, D. C. (1993). Consciousness explained (New Ed edition). London: Penguin.
Duarte, R., Araújo, D., Correia, V., & Davids, K. (2012). Sports teams as superorganisms. Sports Medicine, 42(8), 633–642.
Duarte, R., Araújo, D., Correia, V., Davids, K., Marques, P., & Richardson, M. J. (2013a). Competing together: Assessing the dynamics of team–team and player–team synchrony in professional association football. Human Movement Science, 32(4), 555–566.
Duarte, R., Araújo, D., Folgado, H., Esteves, P., Marques, P., & Davids, K. (2013b). Capturing complex, non-linear team behaviours during competitive football performance. Journal of Systems Science and Complexity, 26(1), 62–72.
Emmeche, C., Køppe, S., & Stjernfelt, F. (2000). Levels, emergence, and three versions of downward causation. In P. B. Andersen, C. Emmeche, N. O. Finnemann & P. V. Christiansen (Eds.), Downward causation. Minds, bodies and matter (pp. 13–34). Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.
Fodor, J. (1997). Special sciences: Still autonomous after all these years. Noûs, 31, 149–163.
Fodor, J. A. (1974). Special sciences (or: The disunity of science as a working hypothesis). Synthese, 28(2), 97–115.
Fusaroli, R., Gangopadhyay, N., & Tylén, K. (2014a). The dialogically extended mind: Language as skilful intersubjective engagement. Cognitive Systems Research, 29, 31–39.
Fusaroli, R., Rączaszek-Leonardi, J., & Tylén, K. (2014b). Dialog as interpersonal synergy. New Ideas in Psychology, 32, 147–157.
Fusaroli, R., & Tylén, K. (2014). Linguistic coordination: Models, dynamics and effects. New Ideas in Psychology, 32, 115–117.
Fusaroli, R., & Tylén, K. (2016). Investigating conversational dynamics: Interactive alignment, Interpersonal synergy, and collective task performance. Cognitive Science, 40(1), 145–171.
Giere, R. (2002a). Discussion note: Distributed cognition in epistemic cultures. Philosophy of Science, 69(4), 637–644.
Giere, R. (2002b). Scientific cognition as distributed cognition. In P. Carruthers, S. Stitch & M, Siegal (Eds.), Cognitive bases of science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Graham, G. (2015). Behaviorism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/behaviorism.
Harris, C. (2010). Collaborative remembering: When can remembering with others be beneficial? (pp. 131–134). Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science. doi:10.5096/ASCS200921.
Heylighen, F., Heath, M., & Van, F. (2004). The Emergence of Distributed cognition: A conceptual framework. In Proceedings of Collective Intentionality IV.
Hollingshead, A. B. (1998a). Communication, learning, and retrieval in transactive memory systems. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 34(5), 423–442. doi:10.1006/jesp.1998.1358.
Hollingshead, A. B. (1998b). Retrieval processes in transactive memory systems. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(3), 659–671. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.119.
Hollingshead, A. B., & Brandon, D. P. (2003). Potential benefits of communication in transactive memory systems. Human Communication Research, 29(4), 607–615. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2958.2003.tb00859.x.
Huebner, B. (2013). Macrocognition: Distributed minds and collective intentionality. New York: Oxford University Press.
Humphreys, Paul. (1997a). How properties emerge. Philosophy of Science, 64, 1–17.
Humphreys, Paul. (1997b). Emergence, not supervenience. Philosophy of Science, 64, S337–S345.
Hutchins, E. (1996). Cognition in the wild (New edition). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Kelso, J. S. (1997). Dynamic patterns: The self-organization of brain and behavior. Cambridge: MIT press.
Kelso, J. A. S., & Engstrøm, D. A. (2008). The complementary nature. London: A Bradford Book.
Kim, J. (1984). Epiphenomenal and supervenient causation. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 9(1), 257–270.
Kim, J. (1989). Mechanism, purpose, and explanatory exclusion. Philosophical Perspectives, 3, 77–108. doi:10.2307/2214264.
Kim, J. (1993). Supervenience and Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kim, J. (1997). Does the problem of mental causation generalize?. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (pp. 281–297).
Kim, J. (1999). Making sense of emergence. Philosophical Studies, 95(1–2), 3–36. doi:10.1023/A:1004563122154.
Knorr-Cetina, K. (1999). Epistemic cultures: How the sciences make knowledge. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Lewis, K. (2003). Measuring transactive memory systems in the field: Scale development and validation. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(4), 587–604.
Li, L., Peng, H., Kurths, J., Yang, Y., & Schellnhuber, H. J. (2014). Chaos-order transition in foraging behavior of ants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition,. doi:10.1073/pnas.1407083111.
Li, L., Yang, Y., & Peng, H. (2009). Fuzzy system identification via chaotic ant swarm. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, 41(1), 401–409.
Ludwig, K. (2015). Is distributed cognition group level cognition? Journal of Social Ontology, 1(2), 189–224.
Luisi, P. L. (2002). Emergence in chemistry: Chemistry as the embodiment of emergence. Foundations of Chemistry, 4(3), 183–200. doi:10.1023/A:1020672005348.
Marsh, K. L., Richardson, M. J., & Schmidt, R. C. (2009). Social connection through joint action and interpersonal coordination. Topics in Cognitive Science, 1(2), 320–339.
McClelland, J. L., Botvinick, M. M., Noelle, D. C., Plaut, D. C., Rogers, T. T., Seidenberg, M. S., et al. (2010). Letting structure emerge: connectionist and dynamical systems approaches to cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(8), 348–356.
McClelland, J. L., Rumelhart, D. E., & Hinton, G. E. (1986). The appeal of parallel distributed processing (pp. 3–44). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
McGrath, J. E., Arrow, H., & Berdahl, J. L. (2000). The study of groups: Past, present, and future. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4(1), 95–105. doi:10.1207/S15327957PSPR0401_8.
Menary, R. (2006). Attacking the bounds of cognition. Philosophical Psychology, 19(3), 329–344.
Minsky, M. (1988). The society of mind (Pages Bent edition). New York: Pocket Books.
Moreland, R. (1999). Transactive memory: Learning who knows what in work groups and organizations. In L. Thompson, J. Levine, & D. Messick (Eds.), (pp. 3–31). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Morganti, M. (2009). A new look at relational holism in quantum mechanics. Philosophy of Science, 76(5), 1027–1038.
Murphy, N., Ellis, G., & O’Connor, T. (Eds.). (2009). Downward causation and the neurobiology of free will. Berlin: Springer.
Nersessian, N. J. (2006). The cognitive-cultural systems of the research laboratory. Organization Studies, 27(1), 125–145.
Niwa, H. S. (1994). Self-organizing dynamic model of fish schooling. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 171(2), 123–136.
O’Connor, T., & Wong, H. Y. (2012). Emergent properties. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2012/entries/properties-emergent/.
Obuko, A. (1986). Dynamical aspects of animal grouping: Swarms, schools, flocks, and herds. Advances in Biophysics, 22, 1–94.
O’Connor, Timothy. (1994). Emergent properties. American Philosophical Quarterly, 31, 91–104.
Palermos, S. O. (2014). Loops, constitution, and cognitive extension. Cognitive Systems Research, 27, 25–41.
Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. New York, NY: Basic Books Inc.
Parunak, H. V. D. (1997). “ Go to the ant”: Engineering principles from natural multi-agent systems. Annals of Operations Research, 75, 69–101.
Peng, H., Li, L., Yang, Y., & Liu, F. (2010). Parameter estimation of dynamical systems via a chaotic ant swarm. Physical Review E, 81(1), 016207.
Pitt, D. (2013). Mental representation. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/mental-representation/.
Port, R. F., & Van Gelder, T. (1995). Mind as motion: Explorations in the dynamics of cognition. Cambridge: MIT press.
Raczaszek-Leonardi, J., & Kelso, J. A. S. (2008). Reconciling symbolic and dynamic aspects of language. New Ideas in Psychology, 26(2), 193–207. doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2007.07.003.
Richardson, M., Dale, R., & March, L. (2014). Complex dynamical systems in social and personality psychology. Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology, 253.
Riley, M. A., Richardson, M. J., Shockley, K., & Ramenzoni, V. C. (2011). Interpersonal synergies. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 38.
Rodriguez, E., George, N., Lachaux, J.-P., Martinerie, J., Renault, B., & Varela, F. J. (1999). Perception’s shadow: Long-distance synchronization of human brain activity. Nature, 397(6718), 430–433. doi:10.1038/17120.
Ross, D., & Ladyman, J. (2010). The alleged coupling-constitution fallacy and the mature sciences. In R. Menary (Ed.), The extended mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Ruben, D.-H. (1985). The Metaphysics of the social world. London: Routledge.
Rumelhart, D. E., Smolensky, P., McClelland, J. L., & Hinton, G. (1986). Sequential thought processes in PDP models. V, 2, 3–57.
Rupert, R. (2005). Minding one’s cognitive systems: When does a group of minds constitute a single cognitive unit? Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology, 1, 177–188.
Rupert, R. D. (2011). Empirical arguments for group minds: A critical appraisal. Philosophy Compass, 6(9), 630–639.
Rupert, R. (forthcoming a). Individual minds as groups, group minds as individuals (University of Colorado, Boulder). In B. Kaldis (Ed.), Mind and society: Cognitive science meets the philosophy of the social sciences, Synthese Library Special Volume.
Rupert, R. (forthcoming b). Against group cognitive states. In S. Chant, F. Hindriks, & G. Preyer (Eds.), From individual to collective intentionality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sawyer, R. K. (2001). Emergence in sociology: Contemporary philosophy of mind and some implications for sociological theory. American Journal of Sociology, 107(3), 551–585. doi:10.1086/338780.
Sawyer, R. K. (2002). Nonreductive individualism part I—Supervenience and wild disjunction. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 32(4), 537–559. doi:10.1177/004839302237836.
Sawyer, R. K. (2003). Nonreductive individualism part II—Social causation. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 33(2), 203–224. doi:10.1177/0048393103033002003.
Schmidt, R. C., Bienvenu, M., Fitzpatrick, P. A., & Amazeen, P. G. (1998). A comparison of intra-and interpersonal interlimb coordination: coordination breakdowns and coupling strength. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 24(3), 884.
Schmidt, R. C., & Richardson, M. J. (2008). Dynamics of interpersonal coordination. In Coordination: Neural, behavioral and social dynamics (pp. 281–308). Berlin: Springer.
Sellars, W. (1963). Philosophy and the Scientic Image of Man. Science, perception, and reality (pp. 1–40). New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Spivey, M. (2007). The continuity of mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Spivey, M. J., & Dale, R. (2006). Continuous dynamics in real-time cognition. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(5), 207–211. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2006.00437.x.
Stephan, A. (1999). Varieties of emergence. Evolution and Cognition, 5(1), 50–59.
Stephan, A. (2006). The dual role of ‘emergence’ in the philosophy of mind and in cognitive science. Synthese, 151(3), 485–498.
Stoljar, D. (2015). Physicalism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2009/entries/physicalism/.
Sutton, J. (2008). Between individual and collective memory: Interaction, coordination, distribution. Social Research, 75(1), 23–48.
Sutton, J., Harris, C. B., Keil, P. G., & Barnier, A. J. (2010). The psychology of memory, extended cognition, and socially distributed remembering. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 9(4), 521–560. doi:10.1007/s11097-010-9182-y.
Teller, P. (1986). Relational holism and quantum mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 37(1), 71–81.
Theiner, G. (2013a). Onwards and upwards with the extended mind: From individual to collective epistemic action. In L. Caporael, J. Griesemer, & W. Wimsatt (Eds.), Developing scaffolds (pp. 191–208). Cambridge: MIT Press.
Theiner, G. (2013b). Transactive memory systems: A mechanistic analysis of emergent group memory. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 4(1), 65–89. doi:10.1007/s13164-012-0128-x.
Theiner, G. (forthcoming). Group-Sized Distributed Cognitive Systems. In Ludwig, K. & Jankovic, M. (Eds), The Routledge handbook of collective intentionality, New York: Routledge.
Theiner, G., Allen, C., & Goldstone, R. L. (2010). Recognizing group cognition. Cognitive Systems Research, 11(4), 378–395. doi:10.1016/j.cogsys.2010.07.002.
Theiner, G., & O’Connor, T. (2010). The emergence of group cognition. In Corradini, A., & O’Connor, T. (Eds.), Emergence in science and philosophy. Routledge.
Thelen, E., & Smith, L. B. (1996). A dynamic systems approach to the development of cognition and action. Cambridge: MIT press.
Thompson, E., & Varela, F. J. (2001). Radical embodiment: neural dynamics and consciousness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 5(10), 418–425.
Tollefsen, D. P. (2006). From extended mind to collective mind. Cognitive Systems Research, 7(2–3), 140–150. doi:10.1016/j.cogsys.2006.01.001.
Tollefsen, D. P. (2015). Groups as agents. New York: Wiley.
Tollefsen, D., & Dale, R. (2012). Naturalizing joint action: A process-based approach. Philosophical Psychology, 25(3), 385–407. doi:10.1080/09515089.2011.579418.
Turnstrøm, K., Katz, Y., Ioannou, C. C., Huepe, C., Lutz, M. J., & Couzin, I. D. (2013). Collective states, multistability and transitional behavior in schooling fish. PLoS Computational Biology, 9(2), e1002915.
Turvey, M. T. (1990). Coordination. American Psychologist, 45(8), 938.
Tylén, K., Fusaroli, R., Bundgaard, P. F., & Østergaard, S. (2013). Making sense together: A dynamical account of linguistic meaning-making. Semiotica, 2013(194), 39–62.
van Gelder, T. (1995). What might cognition be if not computation? Journal of Philosophy, 92(7), 345–381.
Varela, F. J. (1993). The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience (New ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Varela, F., Lachaux, J.-P., Rodriguez, E., & Martinerie, J. (2001). The brainweb: Phase synchronization and large-scale integration. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2(4), 229–239. doi:10.1038/35067550.
Varela, F. J., & Singer, W. (1987). Neuronal dynamics in the visual corticothalamic pathway revealed through binocular rivalry. Experimental Brain Research, 66(1), 10–20.
Warren, W. H. (2006). The dynamics of perception and action. Psychological Review, 113(2), 358.
Warren, W. H., & Fajen, B. R. (2004). Behavioral dynamics of human locomotion. Ecological Psychology, 16(1), 61–66.
Wegner, D. M. (1986). Theories of group behavior. New York: Springer.
Wegner, D. M. (1995). A computer network model of human transactive memory. Social Cognition, 13, 319–339.
Wegner, D. M., Giuliano, T., & Hertel, P. T. (1985). Cognitive interdependence in close relationships. In D. W. Ickes (Ed.), Compatible and incompatible relationships (pp. 253–276). New York: Springer. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4612-5044-9_12.
Wegner, D. M., Erber, R. & Raymond, P. (1991). Transactive memory in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 923–929.
Wilson, R. A. (2001). Group-level cognition. Philosophy of Science, 68(3), 262–273.
Wilson, R. A. (2005). Collective memory, group minds, and the extended mind thesis. Cognitive Processing, 6(4), 227–236. doi:10.1007/s10339-005-0012-z.
Wilson, J. (2013). Nonlinearity and metaphysical emergence. In S. Mumford & M. Tugby (Eds.), Metaphysics and Science.
Wilson, J. (forthcoming). Metaphysical emergence: Weak and strong. In T. Bigaj & C. Wuthrich (Eds.), Metaphysics in contemporary physics. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities.
Wimsatt, W. C. (1986). Forms of aggregativity. In M. G. Grene, A. Donagan, A. N. Perovich, & M. V. Wedin (Eds.), Human nature and natural knowledge (pp. 259–291). Dordrecht: Reidel.
Wimsatt, W. C. (2000). Emergence as non-aggregativity and the biases of reductionisms. Foundations of Science, 5(3), 269–297. doi:10.1023/A:1011342202830.
I am thankful to Adam Carter for comments on an early draft of the paper. I am also thankful to two anonymous referees for Minds and Machines. This paper was produced as part of the AHRC-funded ‘Extended Knowledge’ research project (AH/J011908/1), which was hosted at Edinburgh’s Eidyn Research Centre.
About this article
Cite this article
Palermos, S.O. The Dynamics of Group Cognition. Minds & Machines 26, 409–440 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11023-016-9402-5
- Distributed cognition
- Dynamical Systems Theory
- Downward causation