Collective Intentionality

Collective intentionality is the power of minds to be jointly directed at objects, matters of fact, states of affairs, goals, or values. Collective intentionality comes in a variety of modes, including shared intention, joint attention, shared belief, collective acceptance, and collective emotion. Collective intentional attitudes permeate our everyday lives, for instance when two or more agents look after or raise a child, campaign for a political party, or cheer for a sports team. And these attitudes are relevant for philosophers, theoretically minded social scientists, and anthropologists because they play crucial roles in the constitution of the social world. In joint attention, the world is experienced as perceptually available for a plurality of agents. This establishes a basic sense of common ground on which other agents may be encountered as potential cooperators. Shared intention enables the participants to act in that world together intentionally, in a coordinated and cooperative fashion, and to achieve collective goals. The capacity for shared belief provides us with a common stock of knowledge, and thus with a background against which relevant new information which we may want to share with others becomes salient. Collective acceptance is a central presupposition for the creation of a language, and of a whole world of symbols, institutions, and social status. Shared evaluative attitudes provide us with a conception of the common good. In virtue of this we can reason from the perspective of our groups, and conceive of ourselves in terms of our social identities and social roles. This again enables us to constitute group agents such as business enterprises, universities, or political parties.

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Read also: From Individual to Collective Intentionality

About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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