We propose a first step in the development of an integrated theory of the emergence of distributed cognition/extended mind. Distributed cognition is seen as the confluence of collective intelligence and “situatedness”, or the extension of cognitive processes into the physical environment. The framework is based on five fundamental assumptions: 1) groups of agents self-organize to form a differentiated, coordinated system, adapted to its environment, 2) the system co-opts external media for internal propagation of information, 3) the resulting distributed cognitive system can be modelled as a learning, connectionist network, 4) information in the network is transmitted selectively, 5) novel knowledge emerges through non-linear, recurrent interactions. The implication for collective intentionality is that such a self-organizing agent collective can develop “mental content” that is not reducible to individual cognitions.
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