This book is about the conceptual resources and philosophical prerequisites that a proper understanding and explaining of the social world requires. The main thesis of the book is that this can only be based on a group’s point of view, or as I typically will say, the group members’ shared ‘‘we-perspective.’’ The full-blown we-perspective centrally involves group notions, as used by group members (‘‘us’’). Thus what we have collectively accepted as our group’s goals, values, beliefs, norms, and so on, and to which we are collectively committed is central. This is what the full we-perspective, also called the ‘‘we-mode’’ in the book, involves and yields. The we-mode essentially involves the idea of thinking and acting as a group member, thus for a group reason. Weaker, individualistic forms of the we-perspective and the shared point of view is also needed in some contexts. Such a weak, ‘‘I-mode’’ perspective involves the idea of thinking and acting as a private person for a reason that is private but can be called a we-perspective when it involves considerations related to a group one belongs to. We-mode concepts are not reducible to I-mode concepts. In other words, it is we-mode collective intentionality that is ultimately needed for understanding social life. While group notions are of course needed for the study of some specific ordinary group phenomena (e.g. the functioning of the state), this book argues that the full we-perspective (involving we-mode collective intentionality) is deeply built into the thinking and acting of human beings. It seems to be a coevolutionary adaptation based on both biological and cultural evolution. The theory created in this book at the bottom relies on a naturalistic and evolutionary view of the world, thus of the social world. However, the scarcity of research and empirical evidence on collective intentionality in evolutionary research has prevented me from making the evolutionary perspective more concretely present in the book.
Research Professor. 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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