Check out two forthcoming papers from Rob Rupert, one of the sharpest minds around:
1. Against Group Cognitive States (forthcoming in S. Chant and G. Preyer (eds.), From Individual to Collective Intentionality. No listing on OUP’s website yet).
English users are not fazed by such sentences as “Microsoft intends to develop a new operating system” and “England wants to retain the pound as its unit of currency.” We produce and consume such claims frequently and with ease. One might nevertheless wonder about their literal truth. Does Microsoft — the corporation itself — literally intend to develop a new operating system? Does England — as a single body — genuinely want to retain the pound as its unit of currency. More generally, it is a substantive philosophical and empirical question whether groups of individuals (who themselves instantiate mental states) instantiate mental states properly so called.