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date: 30 March 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Jazz improvisation offers raw material of considerable value for issues in the philosophy of mind, but this material remains insufficiently investigated. Collective intention and distributed group attention have emerged within philosophy in recent years as fruitful areas of study: the long-entrenched dualistic picture of an inner mental event standing behind its physical manifestation has been supplanted by a model of embodied action that is unburdened by a misleading inner/outer dichotomy (so we can now see how an intentional musical work emerges within, and not prior to, its physical sound). This makes possible a new focus on a special form of collective intentional action that is not contained within one single mind at one given moment, but rather distributed across a group of individuals engaged in a cooperative, interactively creative performance; cases examined here include John Coltrane, among others.

Keywords: jazz improvisation, shared intention, collective agency, joint attention, distributed creativity, John Coltrane, playing as one

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