Monday, February 27, 2012

The Splintered Mind: Is the United States Conscious?

Is the entirety of the United States, considered as a single entity, a conscious one? Answering "yes" might be the most metaphysical height to which a patriot could hope to climb. But anyway, there are some interesting issues around here concerning which systems do and which systems don't have conscious states. See Eric Schwitzgebel's discussions of this stuff herehere, and here:
The Splintered Mind: Is the United States Conscious?:
It would be bizarre to suppose that the United States has a stream of conscious experience distinct from the streams of conscious experience of the people who compose it. I hope you'll agree. (By "the United States" here, I mean the large, vague-boundaried group of compatriots who sometimes act in a coordinated manner.) Yet it's unclear by what materialist standard the U.S. lacks consciousness.


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