The "Group-Entity" Illusion

Ian Goddard (
Tue, 19 Jan 1999 14:34:47 -0500

At 11:46 AM 1/19/99 -0700, Freespeak wrote:

>Can anyone suggest a catchy term for the illusion
>that "collectives are real" or "collectives exist?"

IAN: A black-and-white newspaper photograph is a collection of individual dots, but the collective entity is more the sum of the individuals, since the same dots in any other ordering would not be the collective entity that is "the photo."

I believe that that situation -- where the whole is greater (has something more) than the sum of the parts -- defines "the collective entity."

So the question is: Is the photo an illusion? If yes, the collective entity is an illusion. If no, then the collective entity is real.

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