Reﬂexivity in Buddhist Epistemology Implications for Cooperative Cognition
Contemporary human life is made possible by human cooperation. Even the simple endeavour of shopping for vegetables in the market requires the complex cooperation of many humans. To produce vegetables in sufﬁcient quantity to be commercially viable, several humans must cooperate just in the process of farming itself. The transportation of the vegetables to the market requires yet more coordination and cooperation, ranging from the task of scheduling to
the proper delivery of items to speciﬁc merchants. When one further considers the vast array of cooperatively produced affordances that all this presupposes—automobiles, roads, tools, telecommunications, ﬁnancing, and more—the extensive and profound degree of human cooperation required for our contemporary life is clearly undeniable. Human cooperation, however, is nothing new. On at least some accounts, the very capacity for robustlycooperativeaction—rootedinkeyfeaturesofcognitionthatnoother primates managed to develop—are central to the evolution of humans. In his persuasive
book, A Natural History of Human Thinking (2014), Michael Tomasello proposes a version of this evolutionary story, and setting aside the details, one can retell it in simple terms. Tomasello’s central claim is that, at some point, our earliest ancestors moved beyond the rudimentary forms of social cognition observed in the non-human primates that most resemble us now. Great apes such as chimpanzees and orangutans, for example, appear to have the capacity for many features of social cognition, including the ability to infer the intentions and likely actions that others will take based on those OUP UNCORRECTED PROOF – FIRST PROOF, 27/4/2018, SPi
intentions. Uniquely, however, our distant ancestors moved beyond the competition-based model that typiﬁes the social cognition of these nonhuman primates; instead, our earliest ancestors developed the capacities for truly cooperative cognition. With these capacities, our ancestors could effectively ‘outsource’ some of their cognitive tasks to a wider group in which each individual was embedded. For example, when engaged in foraging for food, the
vigilance required to keep each individual safe from predators and other dangers could be performed by some membersof the group, while others could focus on the task of gathering food. As they gathered food, these individuals could devote more of their cognitive resources to that task, while the ‘guards’ could focus on safety without any concern for going hungry. Even the simple task of foraging, when performed cooperatively, could thus become highly efﬁcient, especially in contrast to the cognitive and physical resources that eachindividualwouldotherwiseneedtodevotetobothgatheringandguarding.
Offspring that were talented at this type of cooperative activity were favoured in evolutionary terms,andasourancestorsevolved,theyeventuallydevelopedthe capacity for enhancing their cognitive connectivity through language and through the development of cultural practices that enhanced cooperation. Whateverone might think ofthis evolutionary story, the end point is clear: modern humans can cooperate in highly complex and ﬂexible ways to produce farms, markets, highways, and trucks, and they do so by developing and transmitting elaborate cultural practices and social structures that facilitate cooperative cognition. This aspect of human cognition has inspired recent and groundbreaking work in multiple disciplines. In addition to Tomasello’s
work,keystrandsofrelatedresearchandinterpretationemergeinthewritings of many authors, including: Edwin Hutchins (Hutchins, 1996, 2008, 2010) with his work on cognitive ecology; Andy Clark and David Chalmers (Clark, 2008; Clark & Chalmers, 1998) with their notion of extended cognition; Sean Gallagher on socially distributed cognition (Gallagher, 2013); Jim Coan and colleagues (Beckes & Coan, 2011; Coan & Sbarra, 2015) with their social baseline theory; and Gerry Stahl with his work on group cognition in computer-supported cooperative work and computer-supported cooperative learning. In various ways, these
authors—and many others—articulate a similar vision of the unique human capacity for thinking in a way that is distributed acrossmultiple,embodiedminds thataredeeplyembedded insocialand cultural networks. Despite notable differences in these approaches (see Hutchins, 2010 for a discussion), one thread that runs through all these various approaches is precisely the motif of cooperation. To emphasize this commonthread,andintheinterestofsimplicity,Iwillthusspeakof ‘cooperative cognition’, with the understanding that ‘distributed cognition’ and the other terms mentioned here inform this discussion.
The aim of this chapter is to raise some questions about a speciﬁc feature of cooperative cognition that ﬁgures, explicitly or implicitly, in all the scholarly work mentioned above. Brieﬂy, in order for cooperative cognition to be distributed over multiple minds, each mind must maintain—at least implicitly—a model of the cooperative network in which the individual is embedded. It seems likely that such a model is highly task-speciﬁc, such that the model dynamically shifts in relation to the array of relevant tasks and goals. Maintaining a highly detailed model would consume many cognitive resources, so it also seems likely that the model provides only enough detail to allow individuals to act effectively in the cooperative tasks at hand. The model
itself is also both facilitated and constrained by the various norms, habits, and cultural practices that regulate cooperative cognition. Applying all this to the comparatively simple example of foraging for food, each individual engages in actions guided by cognitions that require a tacit understanding of their role in the group’s overall task of foraging, as guided by the style of foraging developed by the group over multiple generations. To put it another way, to cooperate in such a task, each individual must at least tacitly maintain an ongoing representation of the overall cooperative network—the task-
oriented ‘group’—in which they are embedded. Thekeyquestionposedbythischapteremergesfromthecentralroleplayed by the individuals’ representations of the group in which they are embedded: the ‘we’ in the phrase, ‘We are working toward this goal together.’ In particular, that representation of the ‘we’ of the cooperative enterprise must also involve a monitoring of the state of that ‘we’. For example, are we collaborating effectively toward our goal, or are we exhibiting some dysfunction that is inhibiting cooperation? Additionally, cooperative cognition must include some means not only to monitor the state of the network that constitutes the group, but also to sometimes make that network an explicit object of cooperative cognition itself, so that it can be
regulated and adjusted when needed.Allthisraisesseveralquestions,butperhapsthemostsalientquestion is simply this: in cooperative cognition, how does the group itself become an explicit object of cognition in a way that allows the group to regulate itself? This simple question is actually quite challenging, and my suggestion is that, drawing on a cautious analogy with cognition in an individual, some type of
reﬂexivitymaybepartoftheanswertothisquestion.Toclarifythechallenges here and the way that some notion of reﬂexivity may help us to understand cooperative cognition, I will now make a foray into Buddhist epistemology and some key features of its account of cognition in individuals. At the end of this chapter,
BeforelaunchingintoadiscussionofBuddhistepistemology,twomethodological issuesrequireclariﬁcation.First,someofthematerialpresentedhere,especiallyin relationtothekeynotionofreﬂexivity,remainsanongoingfocusofresearchby scholarsofBuddhism,andwhiletheinterpretationsposedherewilllargelyagree with the current research, I will also disagree with some current claims, most notablythosebyDanArnold(2012)andChristianCoseru(2012).Thetechnicalities of these
disagreements would lead us too far into the Buddhist epistemologicalweeds,soIwillsimplyrecommendthattheinterestedreaderconsulttheir worksforalternativeaccounts.Alongthesesamelines,manyofthesourcesforthe discussion below have not yet been translated into any European language, and constant references to passages in Tibetan and Sanskrit texts would seem superﬂuousinthiscontext.Iwillthusjustreferbrieﬂyinthenotestothekeytexts. Second,
the Buddhist model discussed below applies to cognition in a single individual, and it does not address cooperative or distributed cognition; thus, the feature of particular interest in the individual—namely, reﬂexivity—is not theorized as an explicit aspect of cognition beyond the individual. Extending theunitofanalysisbeyondtheindividualtothesocialgrouphasfacilitatedthe previously cited work relevant to cooperative cognition, but that extension might
encourage the notion that models of cognition operating beyond the leveloftheindividualcantreattheselargerunitsofanalysis(suchasafamilyor other human grouping) as if they were just individuals on a larger scale. Social groupings, however, lack the type of connectivity found within individuals, paradigmatically illustrated by the astounding number of connections within the human brain. For this and other reasons, such as the time course of signals
sent across socially mediated connections, it seems unwise to simply expand modelsofindividualcognitionandapplythemtocognitionsdistributedacross individuals.Thediscussionofreﬂexivitybelowisthusnotmeanttosuggestthat reﬂexivity at the level of the individual can simply be translated directly to the level of the group. Rather, my claim is that, by attending to certain features of reﬂexivity at the individual level, we may come to appreciate key aspects of cooperative cognition that might otherwise go unnoticed. These aspects of cooperative cognition, in turn, have implications for research and for the conceptualization of best practices in working groups.
To appreciate the role ofreﬂexivity—and to use it for inciting questions about cooperative cognition—we must ﬁrst explore some central features of the relevant Buddhist model of cognition, namely, the model articulated in the work of the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakı̄rti, who was active during the seventh century CE in South Asia.1 Let us consider especially the paradigmatic case of explicitly categorizing the contents of visual cognition in an act that Dharmakı̄rti calls visual ‘recognition’, but that Western philosophers will often call ‘perceptual judgement’ in visual perception. This type of cognition
occurs when, for example, one explicitly categorizes a visual object as being ‘blue’ or ‘yellow’, or when one recognizes the object as a ‘cup’ or ‘car’. According to Dharmakı̄rti and the many Buddhist theorists who later elaborated onhis theories,visual recognitionis acausal processthatoccursin two basic phases. In the ﬁrst phase, the visual sense faculty comes into contact with an object, and with some basic attentional features in place, that contact inducesarepresentationoftheobjectinawareness.Thisrepresentation,called the ‘phenomenal form of the object’ (Sanskrit, gra ˉhya ˉka ˉra), is initially
presented as the contents of visual awareness. In the second phase, which does not necessarily occur, that phenomenal form undergoes a type of conceptual processingthatconstitutesan actof ‘recognition’,wherethe objectis categorized as being the same kind of thing as something previously experienced. Focusing now on the ﬁrst phase when the initial phenomenal form of the visual object arises in awareness, one might be tempted to say that this phenomenal form is like a ‘picture’ of the object in that it is a mental representation that emerges from the interaction of the mind, the senses, and the object itself.
However, if the phenomenal form of the object is a picture, it is a picture taken with a most peculiar camera, especially since the phenomenal form is not simply some kind of mirror image of the object. Rather, these phenomenal forms vary across individuals, such that no two observers have the same phenomenal form appearing in their visual awareness, even if they are looking at the same object from the same angle. And even within an
individual,differencesintheimmediatelyprecedingmentalstates—including expectations and affective states—can impact this initial presentation of the object in awareness. Likewise, this initial ‘picture’ or phenomenal form of the visual object is actually the causal effect of the interaction of the mind, the visual faculty and the material object. As such, this ‘picture’ reﬂects the properties of that causal process, including the causal limitations of the visual faculty. For example, according to one standard Buddhist account, visual objects are composed of inﬁnitesimally small bits of constantly ﬂuctuating matter,andthehumanvisualsensecannotdetectsomethingthatsmall.Thus, the phenomenal form of the visual object is a kind of amalgam that emerges from the interactions among those bits of matter, the conjunction of that
matter with the visual sense, and the various causes and conditions operative within the mind and body where the phenomenal form of the object will be presentedasthephenomenalcontentofvisualawareness.Notably,thisinitial phenomenal presentation of the visual object lasts for a very short period of time, perhaps less than 50 milliseconds. It can be refreshed by further visual contact with the object, but each of these ‘pictures’ will be slightly different, and each will appear only brieﬂy.2 As noted above, the second phase of the process of visual recognition involves a type of conceptual processing that constitutes an act of ‘recognition’, and this second phase is directly relevant to the organism’s deliberate, conscious actions in relation to that visual object. In short, in order for an organismtoactdeliberatelyonthevisualinformation,theinitialphenomenal form must be processed further so as to categorize the object in a way that makes it an explicit object of action. This act of categorization essentially interprets the object as ‘the same kind of thing’ as something previously experienced. And while this categorization may involve language in humans,
thisrecognitionalprocessoccurseveninorganisms,suchaspigeons,thatlack the capacity for language.3 Indeed, for Dharmakı̄rti and his followers, this recognitional process—the action-oriented categorization of the initial visual information that appears brieﬂy in awareness—is the way that all conscious beings organize their sensory information in a way that facilitates action in the world. Additionally, according to this model, the type of concept formation involved in an act of visual recognition can only occur in the context of an organism that is engaged in goal-oriented behaviour. Thus, to put it another way, deliberate action on the visual object only occurs if the object is categorized in a way relevant to action, and that act of categorization involves a process of concept formation that only occurs when the organism is seeking to act in a goal-oriented fashion in the world. A ﬁnal basic feature
of this act of recognition concerns the ‘reportability’ of the visual event. Humans can report on their visual experience by saying, for example, ‘I just saw a water bottle there.’ For Dharmakı̄rti and his followers, one can make such a report only if one has engaged in the type of categorization involved in the aforementioned act of recognition. Without the type of conceptualization involved in that act of recognition, the initial ‘picture’ or phenomenal form of the object can arise brieﬂy in phenomenal awareness, but ordinary persons, at least, will have no conscious access to it. A good 2 For somespeculations onthetemporal dimensions involvedhere,seeThompson(2014).Note that this model may involve some features that are compatible with a predictive account of perception, but it does not align with a strong version of a predictive account (for more on predictive accounts, see Clark, 2013). 3 See, for example, the work on concept use in pigeons that dates back to the 1960s (e.g. Herrnstein & Loveland, 1964).
example fromcontemporary psychologyis the notionof ‘inattentionalblindness’ (Mack&Rock,1998).Awell-knowndemonstrationofthisphenomenon involves a ﬁlm of persons passing a ball between them (Simons & Chabris, 1999). When subjects watch the ﬁlm, each is asked to focus on counting how many passes are made by a particular team. Following Dharmakı̄rti’s theory, the subjects are caught up in a goal—counting the passes. While they are focused on that task, other visual information is entering their visual awareness at the ﬁrst, initial level of processing discussed previously. However, if that information is not relevant to their goal, the second phase of processing that involves recognition will not occur; as a result, they will not be able to report on that goal-
irrelevant visual information, even though it did enter their visual awareness at that ﬁrst level of the ‘picture’ or phenomenal form. This theory suggests that, in order to report on goal-irrelevant visual cues, the subject would have to suspend the goal of counting the passes because another goal (such as being aware of anomalies in the visual space) overrides thecounting.Withallthisinplace,itisnotsurprisingthat,whenapersonina gorilla suit wanders through the ﬁlm of people passing a ball around, about 50 per cent of subjects do not report seeing the ‘gorilla’ in the ﬁlm, even though the gorilla-suited person walked directly through the group of people passing the ball. The Invisible Gorilla Test illustrates well this aspect of Dharmakı̄rti’s model—namely, that, even when a visual object has been presented as a phenomenal form in sensory awareness, one can report on that object (by saying, for example, ‘I saw a gorilla’) only if one has engaged in the goaloriented act of conceptualization involved in visual recognition.
Thus far, this account has focused on the process for recognizing an object in visual awareness. In the ﬁrst phase of that process, a phenomenal form of the object arises in awareness due to the complex causal interactions of the material object, the visual sense faculty, and the various attentional and affective features present in the mind. Under some circumstances, that phenomenalformoftheobjectthengoesthroughthesecondphase,wherebyitis characterized for the purpose of goal-oriented action by a conceptualization that ‘recognizes’ or categorizes the object in a way that makes it available for deliberate action. That recognition not only enables deliberate action in relation to the object; it also allows a report to be produced, as when one says, ‘Iseea ﬂower.’ Atthispoint,tointroducethenotionofreﬂexivity,anotherset of features in the model must be explored. These features concern not the object, but rather the subject.
According to the Dharmakı̄rtian model of cognition under discussion here, every moment of cognition includes not only a phenomenal form of the cognition’s object, but also aphenomenal formof the subjectivity thatoccurs with the cognition of any object. Thus, in visual awareness, when one sees an object that one recognizes as a ‘ﬂower’, the visual perception includes a sense of a cognitive subject as the apparent agent who is doing the seeing. In vision andotherformsofsensoryawareness,thispresentationoftheobjectinrelation to a sense of subjectivity is indicated by the ‘out-there-ness’ (Sanskrit, ba ˉhyata ˉ) oftheobject.Inotherwords,theobjectispresentedinawarenessasbeing‘for’a subject,suchthattheobjectseemstobe ‘overthere’inrelationtoasubjectwho is ‘inhere’. Thisissoeventhoughthe phenomenal form of the objectinvisual awareness—the shapes, colours, and soonthat are phenomenally presented in visual awareness—is not outside of the mind at all. As noted previously, the abovequalitiesaretheproductsofourvisualsystem’sinteractionswithmaterial objects that are then represented phenomenally as colours, shapes, and so on. Yeteventhoughthephenomenalcontentofvisualawarenessisnotoutsidethe
mind,itispresentedasbeing‘overthere’inrelationtoasenseofsubjectivity‘in here’. That sense of subjectivity is called, in Buddhist technical terms, the ‘phenomenal form of the subject’ (Sanskrit, gra ˉhaka ˉka ˉra). For the Buddhist epistemological tradition, this relationship between the phenomenal forms of the object and subject is a necessary feature of any mental state in which an object is presented. In other words, whenever an object is presented in awareness, it must be presented in relation to a sense of subjectivity. In the Western phenomenological tradition, this relationship between object and subject is described as ‘intentionality’, and as with the Buddhist epistemological tradition, Western phenomenologists see it as necessarily present in any cognition of an object.4 One especially striking feature of this model is that, while the phenomenal forms of the object and subject must always occur together, only the object formispresentedasbeing‘for’thesubjectformthatoccurswithit.Thesubject form itself does not appear to be presented as being ‘for’ some other sense of subjectivity. If the phenomenal form of the subject were presented as an object for some other second-order subject, then in order for that secondorder subjectivity to be presented phenomenally, it would also need to be presented for some third-order subject, and so on. In this way, an inﬁnite regress would ensue. Instead, the phenomenal form of the subject—the sense of subjectivity that occurs in a cognition of an object—is reﬂexively presented.
4 For a compelling account from the Western phenomenal perspective, see Zahavi (2005) and, more recently, Zahavi and Kriegel (2015). Note, however, that for Western phenomenologists, consciousness is necessarily structured by intentionality, whereas the Buddhist tradition would maintain that there are some special cases of awareness that are ‘non-dual’ in that they do not present with the subject-object structure of intentionality.
A straightforward way to understand the term ‘reﬂexive’ here is that it points to the use of the reﬂexive pronoun sva in Sanskrit, where awareness of the phenomenal form of the subject is said to involve sva-saṃvitti (literally, ‘self-awareness’). To understand the grammatical reﬂexivity operative here, one might consider any language with reﬂexive pronouns. For example, in Spanish, if I say, ‘Yo hablo español’ (I speak Spanish), then the verb hablar (to speak) is transitive, with an agent (yo) performing the action of speaking in relationtothegrammaticalobject(español).Incontrast,whenonesays, ‘Aquí se habla español’ (Spanish is spoken here), the pronoun ‘se’ is reﬂexive such that the transitive verb ‘hablar’ (to speak) is now rendered intransitive. There is no longer a grammatical subject or agent acting on a separate object. In the sameway,thesenseofsubjectivitythatoccursinanyawarenessofanobjectis presented reﬂexively, in the sense that it is self-presenting without being taken as the object of some other subjectivity. This is why it is said to involve sva-saṃvitti, ‘self-awareness’ or, in a more precise translation, ‘reﬂexive awareness’, In short, the phenomenal form of subjectivity is presented in an intransitive fashion, without it being the object of some other subjectivity.
Reﬂexive awareness serves various roles in the Dharmakı̄rtian model of cognition within an individual, but two of its functions are especially relevant here.5 First, reﬂexive awareness presents an implicit model of the perceiving agent that is crucial for action in the world; and second, it allows one to become explicitly aware of emotions and other background features of one’s cognitive state in a way that makes them available for regulation or other deliberate actions. Soon, I will suggest how these two features of reﬂexivity may shed some light on key aspects of cooperative cognition, but ﬁrst, I will unpack these two functions of reﬂexivity in Dharmakı̄rti’s system.
As noted above, according to this style of Buddhist epistemology, any awareness with an object must simultaneously include an intransitive awareness of the subject. For example, as I am gazing at a patch of colour, a representation of that colour patch occurs in my visual awareness, and along with it occurs a 5 This section is based on the account of reﬂexive awareness (svasaṃvitti) articulated by Dharmakı̄rti and his commentators, especially Devendrabuddhi (seventh century) and Śa ˉkyabuddhi (eighth century), as found in Dharmakı̄rti’s Prama ˉṇa ˉrttika, chapter 3, verses 194–224 and 322–540. Most of these materials have not been the focus of scholarly work, but see Dunne (2004, 2011b, 2012, 2015), Coseru (2012), and Arnold (2010, 2012).
sense that the image or phenomenal form of the colour patch in my visual awareness is being seen by a subject, a perceiver that is doing the seeing. Again,thisawarenessofsubjectivityinvisualawarenessoccurs ‘intransitively’ or ‘reﬂexively’ because the subject itself is not presented as an object for some other subject. Instead, it is simply included in the visual perception of the object. This reﬂexive awareness of subjectivity occurs with any phenomenal appearance of an object, and this means that a sense of subjectivity is present evenbeforethesecondphaseofperception,whentheobjectis ‘recognized’ in a way that makes it available to deliberate action. The clear implication here is that even in the ﬁrst phase of perception, the object is already presented not
just for a passive subject, but rather for a subject that is embedded in a goal-oriented context, minimally deﬁned as obtaining affordances and avoidingdangers.Bybeingpresentedasanobject ‘for’ agoal-orientedsubject, the object is contextualized by the features of the subject, including the subject’s spatial and temporal location. And these features are precisely what constitute the model of the subject as an agent—or, indeed, a ‘self’—engaged with the world. One way to understand the role of reﬂexivity here is to consider the implications of its absence. In other words, let us suppose that the phenomenal form of the object were presented without any sense that it is the object of some subject. In that case, how would the cognitive system specify
the object’s location in space and time? The Dharmakı̄rtian interpretation is apparently that the object’s spatiotemporal location can only be speciﬁed in relationtothesenseofsubjectivityincludedwiththeperceptionoftheobject. And this points to a key feature of reﬂexive awareness: it provides a spatiotemporal reference point for the object by keeping track of the subject’s spatiotemporal location, but it keeps track of the subject’s location implicitly. In other words, reﬂexive awareness intransitively presents the subject as the spatiotemporal reference point (‘in here’) for objects (‘over there’) without turning the subject itself into another object. When the object is ‘recognized’ and thus becomes an explicit focus of goaloriented action, it is perhaps even clearer that the awareness of the subject must remain implicit in this way. If I see something that I recognize as a door and then attempt to open it, my
explicit focus is on the door (or perhaps the door handle). If instead, I turn my explicit focus inward toward my own subjectivity, I will lose my focus on the door until I return my focus to it. Yetwithoutkeepingtrackofthesubject’sspatiotemporallocation,movement relative to the door will be impossible. The Dharmakı̄rtian claim is thus that, even while maintaining explicit focus on the door, an awareness of embodied subjectivity is continuously but implicitly presented as an essential feature of the cognitive context. In other words, even while fully absorbed in action
towardanobject,amodelofsubjectivityastheagentoftheactionisimplicitly maintained through reﬂexive awareness. A short exercise can illustrate the point that is being made here. As a thought experiment, focus as intently as possible on the black dot below for ﬁve or so seconds: � A simple question that can be asked now is this: in the experience of focusing on the dot, was the dot perceived by you, or someone else? According to the account given here, even while you were fully engaged in the simple task of focusing on the dot, the sense that the dot was being seen by someone— namely, you—is included as part of the experience of looking at that dot. Indeed, the question just asked may seem almost ridiculous. That is, the visual experience of the dot ‘over there’ on the page or screen so obviously requires some sense of a subjectivity ‘in here’ that it may seem absurd to even ask, ‘Who was seeing it?’ It is precisely this sense of subjectivity—so obvious that it seems absurd to question—that is presented by reﬂexive awareness. In short, without any need to attend to the sense of subjectivity that occurs with any focus on an object, that sense of subjectivity is nevertheless presented as an implicit feature of the structure of object-oriented awareness.
Thesecondfunctionofreﬂexiveawarenessthatmayshedlightoncooperative cognition is the way that reﬂexivity does not just provide an implicit or tacit awarenessofsubjectivity;instead,italsoenablesexplicitawarenessofsubjectivity and the features (such as emotional states) associated with it. To understand this aspect of reﬂexive awareness, we must examine some additional aspects of the process of ‘recognition’ discussed above. As noted earlier, the Dharmakı̄rtian cognitive model takes a particular type of cognition as paradigmatic—namely, the cognition that occurs when a sentient being has a sensory perception of an object and then, ‘recognizing’ that object, performs a deliberate action in relation to it. This theory maintains that all such cases—and,
indeed, cognition in general—are embedded in the overall context of a sentient being engaging with sensory experience in terms of goal-oriented action, minimally deﬁned as avoiding dangers and obtaining affordances. Some aspects of this theory, while important, are not fully articulated, and one such aspect is generally known as ‘salience’. In general terms within cognitive science, ‘salience’ in this context refers to the way that an object emerges as signiﬁcant in perceptual cognition (Itti & Koch, 2000). Although not clearly articulated by Dharmakı̄rti or his followers,
it seems that the Dharmakı̄rtian model must also presume some form of salience. The ﬁrst phase of sensory perception, for example, involves the delineation of objects. Speciﬁcally, that phase presents the phenomenal form of an object, and in doing so, it has already selected an object out of a more complex visual ﬁeld. Presumably, this kind of object selection involves something like salience, but for the Dharmakı̄rtian model, this ﬁrst phase cannot involve the interpretation of the object as explicitly relevant to goaloriented action, precisely because that type of explicit relevance relies on the ‘recognition’ thatoccursinthesecond phase.Thus,forourpurposeshere,the term ‘salience’ willnotrefertotheprocessofobjectselectionfoundinthe ﬁrst phase. Instead, salience refers to the way that an object of perception emerges as signiﬁcant for goal-oriented action and is thus ‘recognized’ as explicitly
relevant to some goal. With this notion of salience in place, one can reﬁne the account of the causal process involved in the paradigmatic case of seeing and recognizing an object for the purposes of goal-oriented action. In the ﬁrst phase, the object is presented in consciousness as a phenomenal form that emerges from the interaction of the object, the sense faculty, and the mind. Simultaneously, a phenomenal form of the subject is presented through reﬂexive awareness as a phenomenological feature of perceptual awareness in a way that provides a spatiotemporal reference point for the object. Here, it is crucial to note that the phenomenal forms of the object and subject arise together because they are necessary to each other; indeed, they are simply two aspects of
the same moment of consciousness. Hence, when (after a very short interval) the moment of ‘recognition’ occurs, it emerges from that previous moment of consciousness as a whole; that is, it emerges from the complex structure involving both the phenomenal form of the object and the phenomenal form of the subject. Because goal-oriented action generally concerns objects that are taken to be ‘out there’ in the world, the phenomenal form of the object usually plays the dominant role in the emergence of the moment of recognition. In other words, that object-focused recognition guides action oriented toward the object represented in the phenomenal form. Sometimes, however, the phenomenal form of the subject is the focus of recognition, and this is when an explicit
awareness of subjectivity emerges. By way of example, consider the task of repairing my bicycle tyre. Perhaps I am late for an appointment, and I need to repair the tyre quickly. This task involves a complex series of perceptions that recognize and enable me to engage with many objects relevant to my goal of ﬁxing the tyre. And each of these acts of perceptual recognition involves my focus on the object in question, such as the spot on the tyre where the puncture occurred. Nevertheless, let us suppose that, at a certain point in this series of perceptions, I suddenly noticethatIamanxiousaboutcompletingthetask,andthatthisishampering
myprogress.Howdoesthisawarenessofanxietyemerge?OntheDharmakı̄rtian model, in my perceptions up to that point in the task, the phenomenal forms of the various objects played the primary causal role in the emergence of the series of recognitions because, given the goal or task that I was holding in mind, these various objects are most salient. But at some point, the phenomenal form of the subject gained salience because it was most relevant to accomplishing that task. Its relevance came speciﬁcally through the way that the phenomenal form of the subject presents information about not just the spatiotemporal location of the perceiving subject, but also about other features, including especially the affective features currently active in
consciousness.Thus,atacertainpointintheprocessof ﬁxingmybicycletyre, even though I was focused on some object (such as the spot of the puncture), the phenomenal form of the subject became so task-relevant that, instead of producing another moment of ‘recognizing’ an object, that moment of consciousness produced a recognition about a task-relevant affective feature within my senseofsubjectivity;andthus,the recognitionof agoal-obstructing ‘anxiety’ was produced. This example of recognizing an affective state as anxiety highlights some crucial features of reﬂexive awareness. Recall that, when the phenomenal formoftheobjectleadstoamomentofrecognitionaboutanobject,itenables deliberate, goal-oriented action toward that object. Likewise, when the phenomenal form of the subject leads to a recognition such as ‘anxiety is occurring’, it also enables deliberate, goal-oriented action. In short, by recognizing the anxiety, I now have an opportunity to regulate my affective state in a way thatwillenablemeto ﬁxthetyremoreefﬁciently.Inthisway,myrecognition of the anxiety is directed toward an object, namely, an affective feature of my sense of subjectivity. This means that, at least in relation to that affective feature, onehas objectiﬁed one’sown sense of subjectivity and taken thatas a new object. Another way of understanding this objectiﬁcation of subjectivity is that, priorto the recognition, the previous moment of awareness contained both an object pole (the
phenomenal form of the object) and a subject pole (the phenomenal form of the subject). When the moment of recognizing anxiety occurred, the subject pole of that previous awareness is taken as the object of the current awareness. And in keeping with this model, the current awareness has both an object (namely, what has been recognized as ‘anxiety’) and a simultaneously presented sense of subjectivity. This also helps us to understand one way in which I might fail to regulate my anxiety, in that this process can continue. That is, I can become anxious about my own anxiety, andthenIrecognizethatIamnowanxiousaboutmyanxiety;continuingthis typeofiteration,Imayspiralintoapanicattack.Inanycase,bythispointIam clearly no longer focused on the task of ﬁxing the tyre, since I am by now
focusing entirely on my own affective states. Clearly, I will be late for my appointment! In the way just outlined, reﬂexive awareness can enable an explicit awareness of the features of one’s own subjectivity. This explicit awareness, however, does not depend on somehow moving from a state in which the various features of subjectivity were completely unavailable to a state in which they are now presented. Instead, from the Dharmakı̄rtian perspective, the various features of subjectivity are always implicitly presented in any moment of cognition. These features are presented as the phenomenal form of the
subject through reﬂexive awareness, as discussed previously. Thus, on this model, if one wishes to monitor one’s affective states, it is not necessary for one to somehow engage in a constant introspective turn so as to inwardly observe one’s emotions and such. Instead, information about one’s affective states (and other aspects of one’s sense of being a perceiving subject) are constantly presented reﬂexively. An increased capacity for monitoring affect would thus not come from turning inward; instead, it would be developed by intensifying reﬂexive awareness, and also by holding in mind a task set or goal that prioritized affective monitoring. In any case, from the perspective of the Dharmakı̄rtian approach, affective monitoring can and does continue, even to a heightened degree, while still engaging in tasks that are focused on objects in the world (such as repairing a tyre). In contrast, if affective monitoring required an inward, introspective turn, tasks in the world would be severely inhibited, since the focus on an object in the world would constantly be interrupted by an inward focus on one’s sense of subjectivity. In short, for the Dharmakı̄rtian model, an awareness of the subject—which might be explicitly
stated as, ‘How am I doing?’—is always implicitly available even when fully engaged in some demanding task in the world. A ﬁnal point about reﬂexive awareness of the sense of subjectivity is worth raising here. Since one’s sense of subjectivity—along with its various features—is always presented to at least some degree in any moment of object-focused awareness, there is a straightforward way to create opportunities for facilitating a recognizing (and regulating) subject side features: one maysimplyuseaprompt.Considerthisexample.AfriendandIareadmiringa beautiful night sky on an especially clear winter’s night, and we are both completely absorbed in that visual scene. When my friend asks whether I am enjoying the night sky, my awareness of the affective features of the experienceareimmediatelyavailabletomebecausetheyareencodedwiththe experienceitself.Inotherwords,thepromptdoesnotrequiremetosomehow experience the sky differently; the question simply invites me to notice the affective features that are already included in the experience itself.
Before exploring some implications that the Buddhist theory of reﬂexivity may hold for cooperative cognition, it will be helpful to clarify what is meant by ‘cooperative cognition’ in this context. As noted earlier, the term ‘cooperative cognition’ is used here to pick out some common themes in a range of theoretical accounts that overlap signiﬁcantly, while diverging in ways that are not relevant to the current discussion. All these various approaches, such as ‘distributed cognition’ and ‘group cognition’, concern the way that human minds may interact to produce cognitive events together. This perspective stands in contrast to the notion that cognition occurs just ‘in the head’ of individual humans. Following Tomasello (2014), the main emphasis here is on
the way that this type of distributed cognition occurs paradigmatically in the context of humans cooperating in the performance of a task or achievement of a goal. Examples of the distributed cognition that occurs when humans cooperate include tasks that can only be accomplished by multiple humans working together. In this context, Edwin Hutchins has extensively studied the form of cognitionthatemergesfromtheinteractionsof ﬂightcrewsinairlinecockpits, primarily as observed in realistic ﬂight simulators (e.g. Hutchins, 1995; Hutchins & Klausen, 1998). The complexity of a modern airline cockpit is such that no single human could safely ﬂy this type of airplane without assistance.Much ofthatassistancecomespreciselyin thesharingofcognitive
tasks,suchthattasksareperformedintheinteractionbetweenhumans,rather than occurring ‘in the head’ of a single human. In one study, Hutchins and Tove Klausen (Hutchins & Klausen, 1998) discuss the distributed cognition that occurs when managing voice communications with Air Trafﬁc Control (ATC). These communications require not just retaining the communication in memory, but also processing that information in a way that leads to appropriate actions. Hutchins and Klausen examine a case in which the captain receives a communication for a new radio frequency. The captain’s interactions with the ﬁrst ofﬁcer (F/O)—including just a meaningful glance— enable that information to be retained and for the appropriate actions to be taken byboth the captainand the F/O. On the analysis proposed byHutchins and Klausen, the cognitive activities required for the crew to act appropriately emerge from the interactions
of the crew as they play their respective roles. The work of a ﬂight crew illustrates the type of cooperative, distributed cognition that emerges from a group of humans that have learned the roles that must be played to accomplish a complex task that exceeds the abilities of any single human. Cooperative cognition of this type requires a sense of ‘shared intentionality’ among the humans involved, such that they can
maintain a cognitive representation not only of themselves, but also of the various interlocking roles within the cooperating group (Tomasello, 2014). In the above example of the ﬂight crew, the captain and F/O had met only two hours before their training run in the simulator, yet they were able to succeed at their cooperative task because they were highly trained in the overall procedures and the speciﬁc roles that each member of the ﬂight crew must play. In the example noted above, when the captain does not give a required responseaboutaradiofrequencytoATC,theF/Osimplyglancesatthecaptain, andwhenthecaptain’sreturnlooksuggeststhathecannotrecallthenumberof the frequency,the F/Oprompts him verbally (Hutchins& Klausen, 1998). This
typeofexchangeispossiblebecauseboththecaptainandtheF/Ohaveashared senseoftheoverallproceduresandthespeciﬁc rolesthattheymustplay.Thus, even while highly focused on a speciﬁc task such as acknowledging a new frequency from ATC, the crew members simultaneously hold in mind a representation of their cooperating group and their roles therein. In the research on airline ﬂight crews performed by Hutchins and colleagues, the extensive training of ﬂight crews enables a rich form of intersubjectivity that connects the members through cognitive functions such as memory,attention,theinterpretationofvisualinformation,andthemanipulation of controls. However, intersubjectivity, shared intentionality, and the cooperativecognitionenabledtherebycanalsoemergeincontextsthatarefar less scripted than an airline ﬂight crew. Gerry Stahl (2016), for example, has examined
what he calls ‘group cognition’—another term for the type of distributed, cooperative cognition under discussion here—in the context of computer-supported cooperative learning. In one instance, Stahl discusses a group of three fourteen-year-old girls engaged in solving a geometry problem about triangles by using the Virtual Math Team (VMT) system. Even though the girls were interacting only remotely through the VMT’s interface for texting and online visualizations, Stahl argues that they engaged in a deep form of group (i.e. cooperative) cognition. For Stahl, the type of cooperative cognitionthatemergesinthistypeofproblemsolvingisespeciallymarkedby the feeling that the participants discover ‘thoughts which I had no idea I possessed’ (Stahl, 2016, p. 380; Stahl is here quoting Merleau-Ponty). Along these lines, Stahl (p. 378) says:
The analysis of the team’s work concluded that the students’ success was an instance of group cognition. None of the students could construct the triangle conﬁguration themselves and the process of construction involved all three exploring, planning and carrying out the construction. Each of the three girls displays a different characteristic behavior pattern throughout their work in the 8 h-long sessions of our study. Yet, the team is impressively collaborative. This illustrates nicely the notion of individual perspectives within intersubjective group interaction.
Stahl’s example clariﬁes another aspect of cooperative cognition—namely, that it is marked by an intersubjectivity that enables individuals to contribute to a process whose result exceeds their own cognitive capacities. In short, cooperative cognition requires minds to be connected such that cognition is not just happening ‘in one’s head’.
As sketched above, key features of cooperative cognition resonate with the Dharmakı̄rtian account of reﬂexivity, and the Dharmakı̄rtian account thus impliespossibleareasforresearchandforbestpracticesinenhancingcooperative cognition within a group. The ﬁrst implication concerns the capacity for each individual to hold in cognition a representation of the group while the group is focused on a task. The Dharmakı̄rtian account maintains that, in the case of the individual, reﬂexive awareness implicitly presents the sense of subjectivity with every object-oriented cognition. The sense of subjectivity is presented as a structural feature of cognition in such an obvious fashion that, as noted earlier, it seems almost absurd to ask, ‘Who is reading this now?’
Likewise, it would seem that cooperative cognition requires a similar form of implicitawarenessthatpresentsthegrouptoeachindividualwithoutdisrupting the group’s focus on the task at hand. A research agenda focused on a group’s implicit representation of itself follows from this implication of the Dharmakı̄rtian model. Asecondimplicationconcernstheself-awarenessofthegroupthatmustbe in place when the group requires self-regulation, as might happen when a conﬂict in the group is inhibiting its accomplishment of the task at hand. This situation resembles the example given above when I, in the process of changingmybicycletyre,becomeawareofalevelofanxietythatisinhibiting my work on the tyre. As noted earlier, the awareness of my anxiety emerges from the
ongoing, background presentation of my affective state that is provided by reﬂexive awareness. In a similar way, even while fully engaged in a cooperative task, the members of a group may become aware of something about the group itself that must be adjusted so as to succeed at their goal. How do members of the group shift their focus from their cooperative work to the group itself in this way? In other words, how do they explicitly ask and answer the question, ‘How are we doing?’ One obvious option is that some person is tasked with handling these issues for the group; this person monitors the group and
makes interventions when necessary. But the Dharmakı̄rtian model of reﬂexive awareness sketched above might suggest an entirely different interpretation that would especially apply when the group does not have any top-down supervision, as in the case of a Self-Managing Work Team (SMWT).
IntheDharmakı̄rtianmodel,thereisnoseparate partofthemind(orbrain) that stands apart from one’s experiences of the world and monitors one’s subjectivity to make interventions when required. Instead, the reﬂexivity inherent in one’s focus on a task allows one to become aware at appropriate timesofsubjectivefeaturesandregulatethemasneeded.Thiscanhappenina way that allows one to maintain one’s overall task; there is no need for some prolonged introspection or outside intervention. Likewise, in the context of cooperativecognition,issomethinglikereﬂexivityoperative?Thatis,perhaps the members of a cooperatively engaged group not only represent the group implicitlytothemselves,buttheyalsoimplicitlymonitorthemselvesthrough a similar background awareness. When some dysfunction becomes salient, it emerges as an explicit object for the group’s attention so that the dysfunction can be addressed and
regulated. Here, the self-managing capacities of SMWTs may be enhanced by considering how team members become aware of a group’s dysfunction even while in the midst of a task. Another key implication of the Dharmakı̄rtian approach concerns precisely thecapacityforself-monitoringandtheproblemofwhatIwillcallthe ‘illusion oftheobjectiﬁedsubject’.Asnotedabove,ontheDharmakı̄rtianmodel,reﬂexivity is what allows the phenomenal form of the subject—the sense of subjectivity in an experience with an object—to lead to a moment of ‘recognition’ whereby one knows, for example, that anxiety is occurring. This moment
allows one to act deliberately on that information soas to regulate the anxiety, butitalsocomeswithadanger.Thatis,inthemomentofrecognizingafeature ofthe subjectpoleinanexperience, one effectivelyobjectiﬁesthesubjectpole. And as with any experience of an object, that experience also comes with a sense of subjectivity. Thus, it may seem that, by knowing one’s objecti ﬁed subjectivity, one is now knowing one’s subjectivity, but this is just an illusion. Instead, one is just knowing a conceptualized version of a previous moment of one’s subjectivity, and one is doing so from the standpoint of one’s actual subjectivity. A continued pondering of this objectiﬁed sense of subjectivity will not give one any additional information about one’s actual subjectivity.
And of course, by pondering one’s objectiﬁed subjectivity in this way (‘I am anxious!’), the task at hand (e.g. changing the bicycle tyre) will be neglected. Instead, to inquire further into one’s state of subjectivity, one must drop the conceptualized ‘recognition’ ofanobjectiﬁedsubjectivityandonceagainallow reﬂexivity to do its work by making implicit features of subjectivity become explicitly apparent. In this way, a deep inquiry into the state of one’s subjectivity requires an oscillation between the implicit awareness provided by reﬂexivity and the explicit awareness that occurs with a moment of recognition. In the context of cooperative cognition, one implication of this aspect of the Dharmakı̄rtian model is
that attempts to understand and regulate a cooperativegroup’sdysfunctionmayfailifthoseattemptsarefocusedentirely
on the group itself. If something like a Dharmakı̄rtian model of reﬂexive awareness applies to cooperative groups, then at some point the group’s dysfunction moves from being implicit to becoming explicit, just as my feeling of anxiety while changing the bicycle tyre moved from the reﬂexively presented background of my awareness to the foreground. In this way, when the group’s dysfunction becomes an explicit focus, the group is no longer on its task; instead, it is focused on the group itself and its own dysfunction. Perhaps more importantly, the group’s focus on itself involves the same illusion
above: when an individual introspects and takes her subjectivity as an object, she is just engaging with a conceptualization of her subjectivity. And while this conceptualization can be useful, it is misleading because it is notone’sactualsubjectivity.Thisissobecausesubjectivityisbynaturenotan object; it is the standpoint from which objects are known. Likewise, when a groupbecomesawareofitself,perhapsduetosomegroup-leveldysfunction,it can be useful to engage in a kind of ‘group introspection’, through which the members of the group focus on the group itself. But if the Dharmakı̄rtian model is applicable here,
then the group that is represented as an object for this ‘group introspection’ is not the actual group at all. Instead, the actual group is the cooperative network of individuals who are now engaged in the cooperative taskofexaminingthemselvesas agroup. Amongthemanyimplications here is especially the limited utility of exercises or workshops focused onthecollaborativegroupitself.Ifthegroupitselfisanexplicitobjectinthese activities—as in, ‘let’s talk about our department’—then the outcome will just be an enhanced conceptualization of the group, but not an enhanced awareness of the group itself.6 A parallel implication here is that one would need to acknowledge that the objectiﬁedmodelofthegroup—thenotionofthegroupthatbecomesexplicit when members become
directly concerned with the group itself—is only a heuristic. That is, as with the aforementioned illusion of the objectiﬁed subject, the groupmember’sobjectiﬁednotionofthegroup couldnotactuallybe the model that they hold in mind when they are working cooperatively together. If they were holding an objectiﬁed model of the group in mind while working together, then the only object that they could be working on would be the group itself. Instead, the members of the group must hold an implicit model of the group in mind while engaged in cooperative, taskorientedcognition.Itisthisimplicitmodelofthegroupthatimpedesprogress toward the group’s goal when it becomes dysfunctional, so it is also this implicit model that must occasionally become explicit for the purposes of regulating the group. Again, the implicit model is constantly presented to 6 For the limitations of this type of approach when ‘group reﬂexivity’ is understood to involve objectiﬁcation of the group itself, see Moreland and McMinn (2010).
each member of the group through something like reﬂexivity, and it is precisely this type of reﬂexivity that would provide explicit knowledge of the group when needed. A ﬁnal implication of the Dharmakı̄rtian notion of reﬂexive awareness concerns the enhancement of reﬂexivity itself. In terms of an individual, if the implicit awareness of subjectivity provided by reﬂexivity is somehow not up to this task, it cannot be enhanced by turning inward or introspecting, since this will simply provide more objectiﬁcation of the subject. Instead, the Dharmakı̄rtian approach would recommend the use of contemplative techniques that enhance reﬂexive awareness, along with a task set or goal that prioritizes awareness of subjectivity. In this way, one is more likely to become
genuinelyaware ofthe subjectivefeaturesof experiencebecausethephenomenal form of the subject is both stronger (through enhanced reﬂexivity) and becomes salient more often (due to the modiﬁed task set). Various meditative techniques, such as those found in some mindfulness traditions, directly target the enhancement of reﬂexivity in this way (Lutz etal., 2015). In the context of an individual, enhanced reﬂexivity gives one a stronger ‘signal’, so to speak, from the subjective side of an experience, and this thus provides greater opportunities for becoming aware of emotions, expectations, and other features that may require regulation. If something like the Dharmakı̄rtian notion of reﬂexivity in individuals also occurs in collaborative groups, then it too would underlie a group’s capacity to regulate itself. But how might this type of intransitive ‘group reﬂexivity’7 be enhanced? Clearly, a notion of group
reﬂexivity inspired by the Dharmakı̄rtian account would have something to do with the intersubjective connectivity that the members of the group experience. To some extent, mindfulness and similar contemplative practicesthat are used to enhance reﬂexivity in individuals may also be useful forenhancingthistypeofintersubjectiveconnectivityingroups,inasmuchas these practices can enhance empathy and perspective taking (Dahl etal., 2015). Other strategies focus not so much on explicit training, but on the norms, environment, and styles of interaction that an organization can seek to cultivate in groups. In work that remains fresh even in relation to more recent research documented by Widmer etal. (2009), Vanessa Druskat and
7 It is important to note that the term ‘group reﬂexivity’ here is used to suggest that, as in the caseofindividualcognition,someformofimplicit,intransitiveawarenessofthegroupisoperative in cooperative cognition. This notion of ‘group reﬂexivity’ stands in contrast to the same term when used to refer to a group process of deliberately reﬂecting on the group. This latter usage shouldproperlybecalled ‘groupreﬂection’,sinceitengageswithanobjectiﬁednotionofthegroup and does not explicitly draw on the form of reﬂexivity discussed here. Although the term ‘group reﬂexivity’ occurs in the research literature in the latter sense of a group’s overt reﬂection about itself, I have chosen to use the same term here in part so as to contest the notion that ‘reﬂexivity’ simplymeansovertreﬂectiononthegroup.Forareviewoftheliteratureon‘groupreﬂexivity’inits usage as group reﬂection, see Widmer etal. (2009).
colleagues(Druskat&Pescosolido,2002;Druskat&Wolff,2001)havepointed to a number of best practices in SMWTs thatcould be construedas enhancing the type of group reﬂexivity under discussion here. Two of these practices are especially relevant. The ﬁrst is ‘heedful relating’. Drawing on the work of Weick and Roberts (1993), Druskat and Pescosolido note that heedful relating is not about behaviour per se; rather, it concerns the way that one interacts with one’s team. Speciﬁcally, such interactions are ‘attentive, purposeful, conscientious and considerate’ (Druskat & Pescosolido, 2002, p. 293). For Druskat and
Pescosolido, the group representation that this encourages is one that emphasizes team–member interdependence—a quality that would clearly enhance intersubjective connection and group reﬂexivity. Along these same lines, Druskat and Wolff (2001) argue that the most effective SMWTs involvemutualtrustamongmembers,asenseofgroupidentity,andasenseof group efﬁcacy. Their claim is that all three features are rooted in the affective oremotionalaspectsofagroup’sinteractions,andthusforDruskatandWolff, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a key component of team effectiveness. Given the central role played by reﬂexivity in the awareness and regulation of emotions in individuals, it seems highly likely that reﬂexivity in groups, if it exists at all, is at least in part a matter of a group’s EI. Norms, environments, and practices that enhance EI—and social connectivity in general—would thus likely enhance a group’s reﬂexivity, and vice versa.
Someformofreﬂexiveawarenessinindividualsiswellestablishednotonlyin Dharmakı̄rtian Buddhist epistemology, but also in the Western phenomenological tradition. While still a target of criticism and a matter of debate, theoriesofindividualreﬂexivityatleasthavealonganddistinguishedhistory. Group reﬂexivity, however, is a new and speculative idea that, while implied by theories of cooperative or distributed cognition, has not yet been fully addressed by the formulators of these theories. This chapter suggests a way forward toward formulating a theory of intransitive reﬂexive awareness in groups, but numerous questions and potential criticisms are necessarily not addressed. A key issue—and one that may be empirically tractable—concerns the modes of connectivity that occur in cooperative, distributed cognition. In thecaseofasingleindividual,neuronalconnectionsinthebrainandafferent/ efferent connections with the body provide a dense array of connectivity to support cognition and sensory-motor functionality, and from a Dharmakı̄rtian perspective, that dense connectivity would likely be the basis for reﬂexivity itself. But when cognition moves beyond not only the head, but also the skin, how do individuals connect in a way that can support cooperative,
distributed cognition and the ‘group reﬂexivity’ that it seems to require? Language obviously plays a central role in providing connectivity, as do facial expressions, physical postures, clothing, and other fairly overt forms of interactive expression. Might there be more? Perhaps physiological synchrony (Konvalinka etal., 2011), or even pheromones (Weller, 1998) play a role? Thenotionofgroupreﬂexivityasanintransitive,backgroundawarenessraises not only these, but many more questions. They seem worth exploring.
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