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Society of Mind theory

See also: Society of mind (Computer Science)

Marvin Minsky's theory of the Society of Mind asserts that the mind is not a single object, but the emergent behaviour of the interaction of a large number of smaller simpler entities.

An implication of the Society of Mind theory is that most mental functioning is unconscious, as there is no conscious awareness of the activity of most of these entities, only of their emergent behavior.

This is similar to the theory of connectionism[?], which effectively is the same idea at a lower level of abstraction.

A third related idea is that of collective intelligence, which is that the behavior of a group of closely cooperating entities (such as a school of piranha[?] fish, or supporters of a political party) is impossible to differentiate qualitatively from the behavior of a single-bodied entity under the direction of a single mind. If this is so, then a society and a mind may both be viewed as collectives of many smaller simpler entities, at a given level of action and measurement of action.

Minksy's ideas have been developed further by other cognitive scientists, including Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter.

See also:

Books: Minsky, Marvin; The Society of Mind ISBN 0671657135

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