What's it Like to be a State? An Argument for State Consciousness. / Lerner, Adam.

In: International Theory, 14.01.2020, p. 1-27.

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What's it Like to be a State? An Argument for State Consciousness. / Lerner, Adam.

In: International Theory, 14.01.2020, p. 1-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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@article{2909d933b736425c855ef4d705af85eb,
title = "What's it Like to be a State? An Argument for State Consciousness",
abstract = "Questions of consciousness pervade the social sciences. Yet, despite persistent tendencies to anthropomorphize the state, most IR scholarship implicitly adopts the position that humans are conscious and states are not. Recognizing that scholarly disagreement over fundamental issues prevents answering definitively whether states are conscious, I instead demonstrate how scholars of multiple dispositions can incorporate a pragmatic notion of state consciousness into their theorizing. Drawing on recent work from Eric Schwitzgebel and original supplementary arguments, I demonstrate that states are not only complex informationally integrated systems with emergent properties, but they also exhibit seemingly genuine responses to qualia that are irreducible to individuals within them. Though knowing whether states possess an emergent {\textquoteleft}stream{\textquoteright} of consciousness indiscernible to their inhabitants may not yet be possible, I argue that the concept of state consciousness can contribute to a more complete understanding of state personhood, as well as a revised model of the international system useful to multiple important theoretical debates. In the article{\textquoteright}s final section, I apply this model to debate over the levels of analysis at which scholarship applies ontological security theory. I suggest the possibility of emergent state-level ontological insecurity that need not be understood via problematic reduction to individuals.",
author = "Adam Lerner",
year = "2020",
month = jan,
day = "14",
doi = "10.1017/S1752971919000277",
language = "English",
pages = "1--27",
journal = "International Theory",
issn = "1752-9719",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - What's it Like to be a State? An Argument for State Consciousness

AU - Lerner, Adam

PY - 2020/1/14

Y1 - 2020/1/14

N2 - Questions of consciousness pervade the social sciences. Yet, despite persistent tendencies to anthropomorphize the state, most IR scholarship implicitly adopts the position that humans are conscious and states are not. Recognizing that scholarly disagreement over fundamental issues prevents answering definitively whether states are conscious, I instead demonstrate how scholars of multiple dispositions can incorporate a pragmatic notion of state consciousness into their theorizing. Drawing on recent work from Eric Schwitzgebel and original supplementary arguments, I demonstrate that states are not only complex informationally integrated systems with emergent properties, but they also exhibit seemingly genuine responses to qualia that are irreducible to individuals within them. Though knowing whether states possess an emergent ‘stream’ of consciousness indiscernible to their inhabitants may not yet be possible, I argue that the concept of state consciousness can contribute to a more complete understanding of state personhood, as well as a revised model of the international system useful to multiple important theoretical debates. In the article’s final section, I apply this model to debate over the levels of analysis at which scholarship applies ontological security theory. I suggest the possibility of emergent state-level ontological insecurity that need not be understood via problematic reduction to individuals.

AB - Questions of consciousness pervade the social sciences. Yet, despite persistent tendencies to anthropomorphize the state, most IR scholarship implicitly adopts the position that humans are conscious and states are not. Recognizing that scholarly disagreement over fundamental issues prevents answering definitively whether states are conscious, I instead demonstrate how scholars of multiple dispositions can incorporate a pragmatic notion of state consciousness into their theorizing. Drawing on recent work from Eric Schwitzgebel and original supplementary arguments, I demonstrate that states are not only complex informationally integrated systems with emergent properties, but they also exhibit seemingly genuine responses to qualia that are irreducible to individuals within them. Though knowing whether states possess an emergent ‘stream’ of consciousness indiscernible to their inhabitants may not yet be possible, I argue that the concept of state consciousness can contribute to a more complete understanding of state personhood, as well as a revised model of the international system useful to multiple important theoretical debates. In the article’s final section, I apply this model to debate over the levels of analysis at which scholarship applies ontological security theory. I suggest the possibility of emergent state-level ontological insecurity that need not be understood via problematic reduction to individuals.

U2 - 10.1017/S1752971919000277

DO - 10.1017/S1752971919000277

M3 - Article

SP - 1

EP - 27

JO - International Theory

JF - International Theory

SN - 1752-9719

ER -