Group Cognition & Explanatory Simplicity
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In three recent papers, Rob Rupert criticises group mind proposals and presents original arguments against group minds and group cognition. These criticisms and arguments motivate the conclusion that although the discovery of group minds remains an open empirical possibility, there are strong reasons for thinking that no such group minds exist. Chief amongst Rupert’s arguments is the argument from explanatory simplicity. His claim is that, for any explanation of intelligent behaviour that appeals to group minds, there exists an alternative explanation couched solely in terms of the minds of individuals. An individual-level explanation which makes no reference to group minds will be simpler than its group-level alternative. Simpler explanations are better explanations. Therefore, individual- level explanations will always be preferable to their more complex group- level alternatives. Contrary to this claim, I argue that however explanatory simplicity is understood, there are no good reasons for thinking individual- level explanations will be simpler than their group-level alternatives.