Extended cognition, personal responsibility, and relational autonomy

Abstract
The Hypothesis of Extended Cognition (HEC)—that many cognitive processes are carried out by a hybrid coalition of neural, bodily and environmental factors—entails that the intentional states that are reasons for action might best be ascribed to wider entities of which individual persons are only parts. I look at different kinds of extended cognition and agency, exploring their consequences for concerns about the moral agency and personal responsibility of such extended entities. Can extended entities be moral agents and bear responsibility for actions, in addition to or in place of the individuals typically held responsible? What does it mean to be autonomous when one’s cognition is influenced and supported by a milieu of environmental factors? To answer these questions, I explore strong parallels between HEC’s critique of individualism in cognition, and feminist critiques of individualist accounts of self, agency, and autonomy. This relational and social conception of autonomous agency, as scaffolded and supported (or undermined and impaired) by a milieu of social, relational, and normative factors, has important lessons for HEC. Drawing together these two visions of distributed and decentralized aspects of personhood highlights how cognition, action, and responsibility are inextricably linked. It also encourages a reconceptualization of all cognition and all concerns about responsibility for actions, not simply as sometimes extended around individuals, but as fundamentally communal, social, and normative, with individual cognition and individual moral responsibility being derivative special cases, not the paradigm examples. Individuals are merely one of many possible loci of cognition, action, and responsibility
Keywords Extended cognition  Moral agent  Responsibility  Collective responsibility  Autonomy  Relational self
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,346
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Mason Cash (2008). Thoughts and Oughts. Philosophical Explorations 11 (2):93 – 119.

View all 48 references

Citations of this work BETA
Richard Menary (2010). Introduction to the Special Issue on 4E Cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):459-463.
Similar books and articles
Shannon Spaulding (2012). Overextended Cognition. Philosophical Psychology 25 (4):469 - 490.
Davide Secchi (2009). The Cognitive Side of Social Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 88 (3):565 - 581.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-11-18

Total downloads

66 ( #21,025 of 1,096,620 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

15 ( #9,214 of 1,096,620 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.