Introspection in Group Minds, Disunities of Consciousness, and Indiscrete PersonsEric Schwitzgebel and Sophie Nelson
in preparation for a special issue of Journal of Consciousness Studies
Kammerer and Frankish (this issue) challenge us to expand our conception of introspection beyond neurotypical human cases. This article describes a possible "ancillary mind" modeled on a system envisioned in Leckie's (2013) science fiction novel Ancillary Justice. The ancillary mind constitutes a borderline case between a communicating group of individuals and a single, spatially distributed mind. It occupies a gray zone with respect to personal identity and subject individuation, neither determinately one person or subject nor determinately many persons or subjects, and thus some of its processes might be neither determinately introspection within a mind nor determinately communication between minds. If ancillary minds defy discrete countability, the same might be true for some actual minds on Earth. Kammerer and Frankish's research program can be extended to include not only the study of possible forms of introspection, but also the study of possible mental activity intermediate between introspection and communication.
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