According to the extended mind thesis (EMT), one’s mind can literally be ‘extended’ to or located in objects in the external environment. There is a genuine sense in which one’s mind is ‘in’ one’s diary, for example. Another oft-cited example is the main character in the movie Momento, who must rely entirely on written notes and external cues and reminders for his sense of identity. An interesting consequence of the EMT is that one’s mind can be located in different objects and at different locations.
It seems to me that the EMT can make for a unique defense of a robust theory group agency realism (GAR). According to GAR, certain groups can qualify as intentional agents distinct from their members, complete with thoughts, beliefs, desires, etc. of their own. Some even argue that groups can be self-conscious, morally responsible, and have their own first-person perspective.
To the extent that one thinks a mind is required for having some or all of these properties, and that groups cannot have minds on account of lacking a tightly unified substratum in which to ground a mind, the EMT provides a way of seeing how that might be possible. By the EMT, we could say that the group’s mind is located in its members wherever they might be. Indeed, this may be an even more plausible example of EMT than the standard ones, for instead of locating mind in a non-mental, physical object like a diary, a group agent’s mind will be located in the minds of its members.
This seems like a really obvious connection. I’d be surprised if it hasn’t been made before.