A month ago, I bought an iPhone. The iPhone has already taken over some of the central functions of my brain. It has replaced part of my memory, storing phone numbers and addresses that I once would have taxed my brain with. It harbors my desires: I call up a memo with the names of my favorite dishes when I need to order at a local restaurant. I use it to calculate, when I need to figure out bills and tips. (...) It is a tremendous resource in an argument, with Google ever present to help settle disputes. I make plans with it, using its calendar to help determine what I can and can’t do in the coming months. I even daydream on the iPhone, idly calling up words and images when my concentration slips. Friends joke that I should get the iPhone implanted into my brain. But if Andy Clark is right, all this would do is speed up the processing, and free up my hands. The iPhone is part of my mind already. Clark is a connoisseur of the myriad ways in which the mind relies on the world to get its work done. The first part of this marvelous book explores some of these ways: the extension of our bodies, the extension of our senses, and crucially, the use of language as a tool to extend our thought. The second part of the book defends the thesis that in at least some of these cases, the world is not serving as a mere instrument for the mind. Rather, the relevant parts of the world have become parts of my mind. My iPhone is not my tool, or at least it is not wholly my tool. Parts of it have become parts of me. This is the thesis of the extended mind: when parts of the environment are coupled to the brain in the right way, they become parts of the mind. The thesis has a long history: I am told that there are hints of it in Dewey, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein. But no-one has done as much to give life to the idea as Andy Clark. In a series of important books and articles—Being There, Natural-Born Cyborgs, “Magic words: How language augments human computation”, and many others—he has explored the many ways in which the boundaries between mind and world are far more flexible than one might have thought.. (shrink)
For more than one decade, Andy Clark has defended the now-famous extended mind thesis, the idea that cognitive processes leak into the world. In this paper I analyse Clark’s theoretical justification for the thesis: explanatory simplicity. I argue that his way of justifying the thesis leads into contradiction, either at the level of propositional attitude ascriptions or at the theoretical level. I evaluate three possible strategies of dealing with this issue, concluding that they are all likely to fail (...) and that therefore, as regards explanatory simplicity, the burden of proof is on Clark’s side. The paper divides into two main sections: in “Simplicity and Coherence”, I define the two concepts that are important in this context (simplicity and explanatory coherence). In “How to Cope with Coherence”, these two concepts are applied to the central thought experiment, the Inga/Otto case. It will be shown that justifying the extended mind thesis by reference to simplicity may cause trouble, because ‘extended’ behavioural descriptions are likely to yield rather complicated explanations. (shrink)
Andy Clark's Supersizing the Mind begins as a manifesto in which the components of an embodied theory of mind are carefully moved into place, proceeds to a defense of these components from recent critical attacks, and ends with words of caution to those who would seek to extract too much from the embodied perspective. Readers unfamiliar with Clark's earlier works are likely to find the result dazzling -- an exciting, novel, and coherent conception of the mind that dares one (...) to abandon nearly every vestige of a comfortably Cartesian view of mind. Of course, philosophers of mind have, for the most part, already jettisoned the idea that minds are an ethereal sort of non-physical substance. We can now assert with no great temerity that Descartes was wrong about that. Even so, one might still agree with Descartes that minds are in some sense distinct from bodies. They are, as it were, in the head. Yet, if Clark's case for embodiment is on track, minds are not in the head. The supervenience base for a mind (and not simply mental content) can include pieces of the extracranial body and, indeed, objects in the world beyond. (shrink)
Arthur Danto’s recent book, Andy Warhol, leads the reader through the story of the iconic American’s artistic life highlighted by a philosophical commentary, a commentary that merges Danto’s aesthetic theory with the artist himself. Inspired by Warhol’s Brillo Box installation, art that in Danto’s eyes was indiscernible from the everyday boxes it represented, Danto developed a theory that is able to differentiate art from non-art by employing the body of conceptual art theory manifest in what he termed the ‘artworld’. (...) The strength of Danto’s theory is found in its ability to explain the art of the post-modern era. His body of work weaves philosophy, art history and art criticism together, merging his aesthetic philosophy with his extensive knowledge of the world of art. Danto’s essentialist theory of embodied meaning provides him with a critical tool that succeeds in explaining the currents of contemporary art, a task that many great thinkers of art history were unable to do. If Warhol inspired Danto to create a philosophy of art, it is appropriate that Danto write a tribute to Warhol that traces how Warhol brought philosophy into art. Danto’s account of ‘Warhol as philosopher’ positions him as a pivotal figure in the history of twentieth-century art, effecting a sea change in how art was made and viewed. Warhol achieved this by conceiving of works that embodied the answers to a series of philosophical puzzles surrounding the nature of art. Warhol, as Danto describes him, manifests himself in his art because he had transformed himself, in a way, into an icon of the times. This pragmatist notion that art should undermine the dichotomies that exist between art and life would, by some accounts, position Warhol to be the philosopher that Danto claims him to be, for he dissolved the philosophical questions posted by late modern aesthetic thinkers by creating art that imploded the accepted notions of art at the time. One of Danto’s greatest contributions to aesthetics is his theory’s ability to distinguish art from non-art, recognizing that it is the artist’s intention that levels the sublimity of art into the commonplace, thereby transfiguring the everyday. However, acknowledging this achievement, I argue that Warhol’s philosophical contribution actually manifests itself in a manner different from that proposed by Danto. Danto maintains that the internal drive of art leads to the unfolding of art theoretical concepts that ineluctably shift the terrain of world of art. I would agree with Danto that Warhol, almost as Hegel viewed Napoleon as Geist on a horse, pushed forward the boundaries of art through the actualization of art’s internal drive. But I would disagree that the conceptual nature of art is one that unfolds merely as a relation of concepts that artists trace through a connection to the meaning of history they forge using their unmediated grasp of style. Rather, I would argue that the artist’s style is not bound so narrowly to the meanings they express. Through their aesthetic articulations, artists initiate a process of social interaction. This process employs the philosophical logic which Danto attributes to Warhol indirectly, and through it, it is able to transfigure the vocabulary of art—the concepts of the artworld—by superseding the language of modernism. Warhol’s philosophical contribution is seen in his mastery of both the medium of art and the underlying logic of the medium’s expression and reception. (shrink)
The issue of openness/secrecy has not received adequate attention in current discussion on the public sphere. Drawing on ideas in critical theory, political sociology, and cultural sociology, this article explores the cultural and political dynamics involved in the public sphere in modern society vis-a-vis the practice of open/secret politics by the state. It argues that the media, due to their publicist quality, are situated at the interface between publicity and secrecy, which thereby allows for struggles over the boundary of state (...) openness/secrecy in the public sphere. A theory of boundary politics is introduced that is contextualized in the relationship among state forms, the means of making power visible/invisible (media strategies), and symbolic as well as discursive practices in the public sphere. In explaining the dynamics of boundary politics over openness/secrecy, three ideal-types of boundary creation are conceptualized: open politics, secrecy, and leak. The theory is illustrated with a case study of the Patten controversy in Hong Kong. (shrink)
This paper contains an overview of the essays contained in the Mind and morals anthology plus a critical discussion of certain themes raised in many of these essays concerning the bearing of recent work in cognitive science on the traditional project of moral theory. Specifically, I argue for the following claims: (1) authors like Virginia Held, who appear to be antagonistic toward the methodological naturalism of Owen Flanagan, Andy Clark, Paul Churchland, and others, are really in fundamental agreement with (...) the naturalists (at least once the naturalist view is suitably clarified); (2) the prototype theory of moral concepts that is inspired by recent work in cognitive science does not necessarily jeopardize the aim of systematization characteristic of traditional moral theory; (3) nor does it threaten certain widely accepted views about moral rationality that is part of traditional moral theorizing. Moreover, I speculate that (4) recent work in cognitive science can be expected to play a corroborative role in the justification of theories in ethics, but we should probably not expect this work to yield new insights and directions in ethics. Finally, (5) Fodor's recent critique of cognitive science makes clear the perils of methodological ethical naturalism. (shrink)
The title of Andy Clark's book is, among other things, a reference to one of the central terms in Martin Heidegger's early work: "Dasein" (being there) is the word that Heidegger uses to refer to beings like ourselves. Clark is no Heidegger scholar, but the reference is deliberate; among the predecessors to his book he lists not only Heidegger himself, but also the American Heidegger scholar Hubert Dreyfus and the French Heideggerean phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty. This triumvirate has played an (...) increasingly important role in recent years among the "alternative" cognitive science set, owing largely to the influence of Dreyfus's 1979 book What Computers Can't Do (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1979), which enlisted Heideggerian and Merleau-Pontean arguments in the fight against classical symbolic processing approaches to artificial intelligence. Clark's book fits squarely in this "alternative" tradition, and it is an important contribution to the existing literature. It surveys a large array of results in cognitive scientifically oriented fields ranging from robotics to developmental psychology, and it argues convincingly that these results should encourage us to embrace a radical new research paradigm in the cognitive sciences. The central claim is that mainstream cognitive scientists should, like their more revolutionary colleagues, learn to substitute for "the disembodied, atemporal intellectualist vision of mind ... the image of mind as a controller of embodied action" (p. 7). As a clear and brightly written account of this alternative movement in cognitive science, and perhaps even as a kind of mission statement for the new paradigm, Clark's book is one of the finest I have read. It is limited, however, by the fact that the interesting and well-described empirical work that forms the center of his presentation does not always provide sufficient resources for addressing the equally important philosophical problems lurking. (shrink)
This is a plausible reading of what Clark and Chalmers had in mind at the time, but it is not the radical claim at stake in the extended cognition debate. It is a familiar functionalist view of cognition and the mind that it can be realized in a wide range of distinct material bases. Thus, for many species of functionalism about cognition and the mind, it follows that they can be realized in extracranial substrates. And, in truth, even some non-functionalist (...) views of cognition apparently allow for the possibility that cognition extends into the external world. So, the (logical, conceptual, or nomological) possibility of extended cognition seems to us not the kind of radical view the advocates of this view have often implied. This is not, of course, to assess or pass judgment on the truth of these possibilities; it is only to note that they are not what most agitates people about the hypothesis of extended cognition. Framing the radical extended cognition hypothesis is a more delicate matter than framing the modal extended cognition hypothesis, but something like the following is in the ballpark. The radical extended cognition hypothesis maintains that, in many mundane cases of tool use, human cognitive processes extend into the tools. The principal reason this hypothesis is so delicate is that there remains much room for dispute about what constitutes a. (shrink)
Extended Cognition (EC) hypothesizes that there are parts of the world outside the head serving as cognitive vehicles. One criticism of this controversial view is the problem of “cognitive bloat” which says that EC is too permissive and fails to provide an adequate necessary criterion for cognition. It cannot, for instance, distinguish genuine cognitive vehicles from mere supports (e.g. the Yellow Pages). In response, Andy Clark and Mark Rowlands have independently suggested that genuine cognitive vehicles are distinguished from supports (...) in that the former have been “recruited,” i.e. they are either artifacts, or, products of evolution. I argue against this proposal. There are counter examples to the claim that “Teleological” EC is either necessary or sufficient for cognition. Teleological EC conflates different types of scientific projects, and inherits content externalism’s alienation from historically impartial cognitive science. (shrink)
This is a plausible reading of what Clark and Chalmers had in mind at the time, but it is not the radical claim at stake in the extended cognition debate. It is a familiar functionalist view of cognition and the mind that it can be realized in a wide range of distinct material bases. Thus, for many species of functionalism about cognition and the mind, it follows that they can be realized in extracranial substrates. And, in truth, even some non-functionalist (...) views of cognition apparently allow for the possibility that cognition extends into the external world. So, the (logical, conceptual, or nomological) possibility of extended cognition seems to us not the kind of radical view the advocates of this view have often implied. This is not, of course, to assess or pass judgment on the truth of these possibilities; it is only to note that they are not what most agitates people about the hypothesis of extended cognition. Framing the radical extended cognition hypothesis is a more delicate matter than framing the modal extended cognition hypothesis, but something like the following is in the ballpark. The radical extended cognition hypothesis maintains that, in many mundane cases of tool use, human cognitive processes extend into the tools. The principal reason this hypothesis is so delicate is that there remains much room for dispute about what constitutes a “mundane” case of tool use, such as keeping a notebook at hand at all times, versus an exotic case of tool use, such as having a computer memory chip implanted in one’s brain. Clark never in so many words defends the idea that there are actual cases of extended cognition. Rather, his tacit commitment must be inferred from such things as his proposal that the brain is made to use tools, so we should view tools as part of the mind (Cf., Clark, 2005, p. 8ff.). (shrink)
Does language make moral cognition possible? Some authors like Andy Clark have argued for a positive answer whereby language and the ways people use it mark a fundamental divide between humans and all other animals with respect to moral thinking (Clark, Mind and morals: essays on cognitive science and ethics. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996; Moral Epistemol Nat Can J Philos Suppl XXVI, 2000a; Moral Epistemol Nat Can J Philos Suppl XXVI, 2000b; Philosophy of mental representation. Oxford University Press, (...) Oxford, pp 37–43 and discussion, 44–61, 2002). I take issue with Clark’s view and argue that language is probably unnecessary for the emergence of moral cognition. I acknowledge, however, that humans unlike other animals seem to posses what Haugeland in Philosophy of mental representation. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2002) terms ‘norm-hungriness’: an idiosyncratic need or desire to create and abide by a multitude of norms. Our peculiar norm-hungriness, I suggest, depends on what can be called florid control rather than on language. (shrink)
Are any nonhuman animals rational? What issues are we raising when we ask this question? Are there different kinds or levels of rationality, some of which fall short of full human rationality? Should any behaviour by nonhuman animals be regarded as rational? What kinds of tasks can animals successfully perform? What kinds of processes control their performance at these tasks, and do they count as rational processes? Is it useful or theoretically justified to raise questions about the rationality of animals (...) at all? Should we be interested in whether they are rational? Why does it matter? (shrink)
The phenomenon of disagreement has been recently brought into focus by the debate between contextualists and relativist invariantists about epistemic expressions such as ‘might’, ‘probably’, indicative conditionals, and the deontic ‘ought’. Against the orthodox contextualist view, it has been argued that an invariantist account can better explain apparent disagreements across contexts by appeal to incompatibility of the propositions expressed in those contexts. This paper introduces an important and underappreciated phenomenon associated with epistemic expressions – a phenomenon that we call reversibility. (...) We argue that the invariantist account of disagreement is incompatible with reversibility, and we go on to show that reversible sentences cast doubt on the putative data about disagreement, even without assuming invariantism. Our argument therefore undermines much of the motivation for invariantism, and provides a new source for constraints on the proper explanation of purported data about disagreement. (shrink)
Finding the Mind Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9598-9 Authors Andy Clark, Philosophy, University of Edinburgh, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD Scotland, UK Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Précis of Supersizing the mind: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension (Oxford University Press, NY, 2008) Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9597-x Authors Andy Clark, Philosophy, University of Edinburgh, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD Scotland (UK) Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Andy Clark is currently Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology program at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of two books MICROCOGNITION (MIT Press/Bradford Books 1989) and ASSOCIATIVE ENGINES (MIT Press/Bradford Books, 1993) as well as numerous papers and four edited volumes. He is an ex- committee member of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science and of the Society for Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behavior. Awards include a visiting Fellowship (...) at the Australia National University, Canberra in 1989, and an ESRC Senior Research Leave Fellowship in 1992. He is an Associate of BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, serves on the editorial boards of the journals. (shrink)
Perspectives on global warming Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-29 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9639-9 Authors Steven Yearley, ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AQ UK David Mercer, Science and Technology Studies Program, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia Naomi Oreskes, Department of History, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0104, USA Erik Conway, (...) Caltech, 1200 East California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
This is the second of two volumes of essays in commemoration of Alan Turing; it celebrates his intellectual legacy within the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. A distinguished international cast of contributors focus on the relationship beteen a scientific, computational image of the mind and a common-sense picture of the mind as an inner arena populated by concepts, beliefs, intentions, and qualia. Topics covered include the causal potency of folk-psychological states, the connectionist reconception of learning and concept formation, the (...) understanding of the notion of computation itself, and the relation between philosophical and psychological theories of concepts. -/- Also available in paperback is the companion volume, Machines and Thought, edited by Peter Millican and Andy Clark, which focuses on Turing's main innovations in artificial intelligence. (shrink)
This is the first of two volumes of essays in commemoration of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in the theory of artificial intelligence and computer science continues to be widely discussed today. A group of prominent academics from a wide range of disciplines focus on three questions famously raised by Turing: What, if any, are the limits on machine 'thinking'? Could a machine be genuinely intelligent? Might we ourselves be biological machines, whose thought consists essentially in nothing more than the (...) interaction of neurons according to strictly determined rules? The discussion of these fascinating issues is accessible to non-specialists and stimulating for all readers. -/- Also available in paperback is the companion volume: Connectionism, Concepts, and Folk Psychology, edited by Andy Clark and Peter Millican. While Volume 1 concentrates on Turing's main innovations in artificial intelligence, Volume 2 looks more broadly at his intellectual legacy in philosophy and cognitive science. (shrink)
In this article I analyze how journalistic codes of ethics in the United States wrestle with the matter of leaks. After assessing how leaks-particularly from government sources-can compromise journalistic independence, I discuss strengths and weakness of ethics codes. Four research questions are explored via a systematic analysis of 47 codes. Although leaks are never explicitly addressed in these codes, the treatment of confidential sources and the need to maintain journalistic independence are addressed.
Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? The question invites two standard replies. Some accept the demarcations of skin and skull, and say that what is outside the body is outside the mind. Others are impressed by arguments suggesting that the meaning of our words "just ain't in the head", and hold that this externalism about meaning carries over into an externalism about mind. We propose to pursue a third position. We advocate a very different (...) sort of externalism: an _active externalism_ , based on the active role of the environment in driving cognitive processes. (shrink)
In the movie, Memento, the hero, Leonard, suffers from a form of anterograde amnesia that results in an inability to lay down new memories. Nonetheless, he sets out on a quest to find his wife’s killer, aided by the use of notes, annotated polaroids, and (for the most important pieces of information obtained) body tattoos. Using these resources he attempts to build up a stock of new beliefs and to thus piece together the puzzle of his wife’s death. At one (...) point in the movie, a character exasperated by Leonard’s lack of biological recall, shouts. (shrink)
Andy Clark and David Chalmers claim that cognitive processes can and do extend outside the head.1 Call this the “hypothesis of extended cognition” (HEC). HEC has been strongly criticised by Fred Adams, Ken Aizawa and Robert Rupert.2 In this paper I argue for two claims. First, HEC is a harder target than Rupert, Adams and Aizawa have supposed. A widely-held view about the nature of the mind, functionalism—a view to which Rupert, Adams and Aizawa appear to subscribe— entails HEC. (...) Either HEC is true, or functionalism is false. The relationship between functionalism and HEC goes beyond support for the relatively uncontroversial claim that it is logically or nomologically possible for cognition to extend (the “can” part of HEC); functionalism entails that cognitive processes do extend in the actual world. Second, I argue that the version of HEC entailed by functionalism is more radical than the version that Clark and Chalmers suggest. I argue that it is so radical as to form a counterexample to functionalism. If functionalism is modified to prevent these consequences, then HEC falls victim to Rupert, Adams and Aizawa’s original criticism. An advocate of HEC has two choices: (1) accept functionalism and radical HEC; (2) give up HEC entirely. Clark and Chalmers’ intermediate position of a modest form of HEC is unsustainable. The argument of this paper, although initially appearing to support Clark and Chalmers, ultimately argues against their position. The price of HEC is rampant expansion of the mind into the world, and the implausibility of such expansion is indicative of deep-seated problems with functionalism. The argument of this paper consequently speaks to wider issues than just the status of HEC. The reasons for.. (shrink)
i> “There’s no disputing about taste.” That’s got a nice ring to it, but it’s not quite the ring of truth. While there’s definitely something right about the aphorism – there’s a reason why it is, after all, an aphorism, and why its utterance tends to produce so much nodding of heads and muttering of “just so” and “yes, quite” – it’s surprisingly difficult to put one’s finger on just what the truth in the neighborhood is, exactly. One thing that’s (...) pretty clear is that what’s right about the aphorism, that there’s no disputing about taste, isn’t that there’s no disputing about taste. There’s heaps of disputing about taste. People engage in disputes about which movies, music, paintings, literature, meals, furniture, architectural styles, etc. are good, beautiful, tasty, fun, elegant, ugly, disgusting, etc. all the time. This is obvious to anyone who has watched dueling-movie-critics shows, read theater reviews, or negotiated with a group or partner about which movie or restaurant to go to, or which sofa or painting to put in the living room. It takes great care and good aim to fling a brick without hitting somebody who’s engaged in a dispute about taste. (shrink)
1. The Situation in Cognition 2. Situated Cognition: A Potted Recent History 3. Extensions in Biology, Computation, and Cognition 4. Articulating the Idea of Cognitive Extension 5. Are Some Resources Intrinsically Non-Cognitive? 6. Is Cognition Extended or Only Embedded? 7. Letting Nature Take Its Course.
The Phenomenological Mind, by Shaun Gallagher and Dan Zahavi, is part of a recent initiative to show that phenomenology, classically conceived as the tradition inaugurated by Edmund Husserl and not as mere introspection, contributes something important to cognitive science. (For other examples, see “References” below.) Phenomenology, of course, has been a part of cognitive science for a long time. It implicitly informs the works of Andy Clark (e.g. 1997) and John Haugeland (e.g. 1998), and Hubert Dreyfus explicitly uses it (...) (e.g. 1992). But where the former use phenomenology in the background as broad context and Dreyfus uses it primarily (though not exclusively) as a critique of conventional AI, Gallagher and Zahavi wish to indicate a positive and constructive place for it within cognitive science. They do not recommend that we simply accept pronouncements of thinkers like Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau‐Ponty and apply them to questions of cognition, but that we use revised forms of phenomenology to illuminate dimensions of cognitive experience that are missing in current research. The book is presented as an “introduction to philosophy of mind and cognitive science” written from a phenomenological perspective. It seeks to justify the use of phenomenology in cognitive science by showing what kinds of questions it asks and answers, the variety of uses to which it has recently been put and the fruitfulness of some of its findings. The catalog of topics, for the most part, matches other introductions to the philosophy of mind, such as questions of method, consciousness, perception, intentionality, embodiment, action, agency and other minds. One issue presented here that is not generally dealt with in existing philosophy of mind and cognitive science texts is temporality, a mainstay of the continental tradition. After an introductory chapter that places phenomenology in the context of other approaches, the book lays out the main tenets of phenomenological method. Here, one encounters expected components of phenomenology: the epoché (described below), phenomenological reduction, eidetic variation, and so on. This traditional fare is soon followed by some potential surprises, namely, attempts to “naturalize” phenomenology, a few attempts to formalize it, and the emergence of ‘neurophenomenology’. Each of these is a bit surprising because Husserl was a vocal critic of naturalism, seeing transcendental phenomenology as an alternative to the empirical study of consciousness. He was also skeptical about the possibilities of mathematizing phenomenology. Gallagher and Zahavi acknowledge these points, but since they are not repeating history or undertaking exegesis, strict adherence to canonical phenomenology is not required. Naturalizing phenomenology means recognizing that “the phenomena it studies are part of nature and are therefore also open to empirical investigation” (p.. (shrink)
Is consciousness all in the head, or might the minimal physical substrate for some forms of conscious experience include the goings on in the (rest of the) body and the world? Such a view might be dubbed (by analogy with Clark and Chalmers’s ( 1998 ) claims concerning ‘the extended mind’) ‘the extended conscious mind’. In this article, I review a variety of arguments for the extended conscious mind, and find them flawed. Arguments for extended cognition, I conclude, do not (...) generalize to arguments for an extended conscious mind. (shrink)
According to the Extended Mind thesis, the mind extends beyond the skull or the skin: mental processes can constitutively include external devices, like a computer or a notebook. The Extended Mind thesis has drawn both support and criticism. However, most discussions—including those by its original defenders, Andy Clark and David Chalmers—fail to distinguish between two very different interpretations of this thesis. The first version claims that the physical basis of mental features can be located spatially outside the body. Once (...) we accept that the mind depends on physical events to some extent, this thesis, though not obvious, is compatible with a large variety of views on the mind. The second version applies to standing states only, and has to do with how we conceive the nature of such states. This second version is much more interesting, because it points to a potential tension in our conception of minds or selves. However, without properly distinguishing between the two theses, the significance of the second is obscured by the comparative triviality of the first. (shrink)
What is the relation between the material, conventional symbol structures that we encounter in the spoken and written word, and human thought? A common assumption, that structures a wide variety of otherwise competing views, is that the way in which these material, conventional symbol-structures do their work is by being translated into some kind of content-matching inner code. One alternative to this view is the tempting but thoroughly elusive idea that we somehow think in some natural language (such as English). (...) In the present treatment I explore a third option, which I shall call the "complementarity" view of language. According to this third view the actual symbol structures of a given language add cognitive value by complementing (without being replicated by) the more basic modes of operation and representation endemic to the biological brain. The "cognitive bonus" that language brings is, on this model, not to be cashed out either via the ultimately mysterious notion of "thinking in a given natural language" or via some process of exhaustive translation into another inner code. Instead, we should try to think in terms of a kind of coordination dynamics in which the forms and structures of a language qua material symbol system play a key and irreducible role. Understanding language as a complementary cognitive resource is, I argue, an important part of the much larger project (sometimes glossed in terms of the "extended mind") of understanding human cognition as essentially and multiply hybrid: as involving a complex interplay between internal biological resources and external non-biological resources. (shrink)
According to Arthur Danto, post-modern or post-historical art began when artists like Andy Warhol collapsed the Modern distinction between art and everyday life by bringing “the everyday” into the artworld. I begin by pointing out that there is another way to collapse this distinction: bring art out of the artworld and into everyday life. An especially effective way of doing this to make street art, which, I argue, is art whose meaning depends on its use of the street. I (...) defend this definition and show how it handles graffiti and public art. (shrink)
In this journal Andy Egan argued that, contrary to what I have claimed, quasi-realism is committed to a damaging asymmetry between the way a subject regards himself and the way he regards others. In particular, a subject must believe it to be a priori that if something is one of his stable or fundamental beliefs, then it is true. Whereas he will not hold that this is a priori true of other people. In this paper I rebut Egan's argument, (...) and give further consideration to the correct way to think about our own fallibility. (shrink)
I think that there are good reasons to adopt a relativist semantics for epistemic modal claims such as ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', according to which such utterances determine a truth value relative to something finer-grained than just a world (or a <world, time> pair). Anyone who is inclined to relativise truth to more than just worlds and times faces a problem about assertion. It's easy to be puzzled about just what purpose would be served by assertions (...) of this kind, and how to understand what we'd be up to in our use of sentences like ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', if they have such peculiar truth conditions. After providing a very quick argument to motivate a relativist view of epistemic modals, I bring out and attempt to resolve this problem in making sense of the role of assertions with relativist truth conditions. Solving this problem should be helpful in two ways: first, it eliminates an apparently forceful objection to relativism, and second, spelling out the relativist account of assertion and communication will help to make clear just what the relativist position is, exactly, and why it's interesting. (shrink)
In Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension (Clark, 2008), Andy Clark bolsters his case for the extended mind thesis and casts a critical eye on some related views for which he has less enthusiasm. To these ends, the book canvasses a wide range of empirical results concerning the subtle manner in which the human organism and its environment interact in the production of intelligent behavior. This fascinating research notwithstanding, Supersizing does little to assuage my skepticism about the (...) hypotheses of extended cognition and extended mind. In particular, Supersizing fails to make the case for the extended view as a revolutionary thesis in the theoretical foundations of cognitive science. (shrink)
Subjects with delusions profess to believe some extremely peculiar things. Patients with Capgras delusion sincerely assert that, for example, their spouses have been replaced by impostors. Patients with Cotard’s delusion sincerely assert that they are dead. Many philosophers and psychologists are hesitant to say that delusional subjects genuinely believe the contents of their delusions.2 One way to reinterpret delusional subjects is to say that we’ve misidentified the content of the problematic belief. So for example, rather than believing that his wife (...) is has been replaced by an impostor, we might say that the victim of Capgras delusion believes that it is, in some respects, as if his wife has been replaced by an impostor. Another is to say that we’ve misidentified the attitude that the delusional subject bears to the content of their delusion. So for example, Gregory Currie and co-authors have suggested that rather than believing that his wife has been replaced by an impostor, we should say that the victim of Capgras delusion merely imagines that his wife has been replaced by an impostor.3. (shrink)
Many philosophers (myself included) have been converted to causal decision theory by something like the following line of argument: Evidential decision theory endorses irrational courses of action in a range of examples, and endorses “an irrational policy of managing the news”. These are fatal problems for evidential decision theory. Causal decision theory delivers the right results in the troublesome examples, and does not endorse this kind of irrational news-managing. So we should give up evidential decision theory, and be causal decision (...) theorists instead. Unfortunately, causal decision theory has its own family of problematic examples for which it endorses irrational courses of action, and its own irrational policy that it is committed to endorsing. These are, I think, fatal problems for causal decision theory. I wish that I had another theory to offer in its place. (shrink)
You’re imagining, in the course of a different game of make-believe, that you’re a bank robber. You don’t believe that you’re a bank robber. You are moved to point your finger, gun-wise, at the person pretending to be the bank teller and say, “Stick ‘em up! This is a robbery!”.
The last ten years have seen an increasing interest, within cognitive science, in issues concerning the physical body, the local environment, and the complex interplay between neural systems and the wider world in which they function. --œPhysically embodied, environmentally embedded--� approaches thus loom large on the contemporary cognitive scientific scene. Yet many unanswered questions remain, and the shape of a genuinely embodied, embedded science of the mind is still unclear. I begin by sketching a few examples of the approach, and (...) then raise a variety of critical questions concerning its nature and scope. A distinction is drawn between two kinds of appeal to embodiment: 'simple' cases, in which bodily and environmental properties merely constrain accounts that retain the focus on inner organization and processing, and more radical appeals, in which attention to bodily and environmental features is meant to transform both the subject matter and the theoretical framework of cognitive science. (shrink)
In _Action in Perception _Alva No develops and presents a sensorimotor account of vision and of visual consciousness. According to such an account seeing (and indeed perceiving more generally) is analysed as a kind of skilful bodily activity. Such a view is consistent with the emerging emphasis, in both philosophy and cognitive science, on the critical role of embodiment in the construction of intelligent agency. I shall argue, however, that the full sensorimotor model faces three important challenges. The first is (...) to negotiate a path between two prima facie unsatisfactory readings of the central claim that conscious perceptual experience is constituted by knowledge of patterns of sensorimotor dependence. The second is to convince us that the sensorimotor contribution, in such cases, is actually constitutive of perceptual experience rather than merely causally implicated in the origination of such experience.2 And the third is to respond to the important challenge raised by what I will dub 'sensorimotor summarizing' models of the relation between conscious experience and richly detailed sensorimotor routines. According to such models3 conscious perceptual experience only rather indirectly reflects the rich detail of our actual sensorimotor engagements, which are instead lightly sampled as a coarse guide, optimized for planning and reasoning, and geared and filtered according to current needs and purposes. (shrink)
The last ten years have seen an increasing interest, within cognitive science, in issues concerning the physical body, the local environment, and the complex interplay between neural systems and the wider world in which they function. “Physically embodied, environmentally embedded” approaches thus loom large on the contemporary cognitive scientific scene. Yet many unanswered questions remain, and the shape of a genuinely embodied, embedded science of the mind is still unclear. I begin by sketching a few examples of the approach, and (...) then raise a variety of critical questions concerning its nature and scope. A distinction is drawn between two kinds of appeal to embodiment: ‘simple’ cases, in which bodily and environmental properties merely constrain accounts that retain the focus on inner organization and processing, and more radical appeals, in which attention to bodily and environmental features is meant to transform both the subject matter and the theoretical framework of cognitive science. (shrink)
A common first reaction to expressivist and quasi-realist theories is the thought that, if these theories are right, there's some objectionable sense in which we can't be wrong about morality. This worry turns out to be surprisingly difficult to make stick - an account of moral error as instability under improving changes provides the quasi-realist with the resources to explain many of our concerns about moral error. The story breaks down, though, in the case of fundamental moral error. This is (...) where the initial worry finally sticks - quasi-realism tells me that I can't be fundamentally wrong about morality, though others can. (shrink)
Problems about the accidental properties of properties motivate us--force us, I think--not to identify properties with the sets of their instances. If we identify them instead with functions from worlds to extensions, we get a theory of properties that is neutral with respect to disputes over counterpart theory, and we avoid a problem for Lewis's theory of events. Similar problems about the temporary properties of properties motivate us--though this time they probably don't force us--to give up this theory as well, (...) and to identify properties with functions from world, time pairs to extensions. Again, the replacement theory is neutral with respect to a metaphysical dispute that the old theory (arguably) forces us to take a stand on--the dispute over whether objects have temporal parts. It also allows us to give a smoother semantics for predication, to better accommodate our intuitions about which objects temporary properties are properties of, and to make temporally self-locating beliefs genuinely self -locating. (shrink)
he first institutional theory of art is outlined in a 1964 essay by Arthur Danto, “The Artworld,” which ruminates on the paradox that Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes is art though any of its perceptually indistinguishable twins—any stack of Brillo boxes in a grocery store—is not. Danto’s offers this solution to the paradox: “To see something as art requires something the eye cannot descry—an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art: an artworld.” Ultimately, though, it is (...) “art theory” that makes Warhol’s stack of silk screened plywood boxes into art. (shrink)
Connectionism and classicism, it generally appears, have at least this much in common: both place some notion of internal representation at the heart of a scientific study of mind. In recent years, however, a much more radical view has gained increasing popularity. This view calls into question the commitment to internal representation itself. More strikingly still, this new wave of anti-representationalism is rooted not in armchair theorizing but in practical attempts to model and understand intelligent, adaptive behavior. In this paper (...) we first present, and then critically assess, a variety of recent anti-representationalist treatments. We suggest that so far, at least, the sceptical rhetoric outpaces both evidence and argument. Some probable causes of this premature scepticism are isolated. Nonetheless, the anti-representationalist challenge is shown to be both important and progressive insofar as it forces us to see beyond the bare representational/non-representational dichotomy and to recognize instead a rich continuum of degrees and types of representationality. (shrink)
I suggest a way of extending Stalnaker’s account of assertion to allow for centered content. In formulating his account, Stalnaker takes the content of assertion to be uncentered propositions: entities that are evaluated for truth at a possible world. I argue that the content of assertion is sometimes centered: the content is evaluated for truth at something within a possible world. I consider Andy Egan’s proposal for extending Stalnaker’s account to allow for assertions with centered content. I argue that (...) Egan’s account does not succeed. Instead, I propose an account on which the contents of assertion are identified with sets of multi-centered worlds. I argue that such a view not only provides a plausible account of how assertions can have centered content, but also preserves Stalnaker’s original insight that successful assertion involves the reduction of shared possibilities. (shrink)
According to the extended cognition hypothesis (henceforth ExC), there are conditions under which thinking and thoughts (or more precisely, the material vehicles that realize thinking and thoughts) are spatially distributed over brain, body and world, in such a way that the external (beyond-the-skin) factors concerned are rightly accorded fully-paid-up cognitive status.1 According to functionalism in the philosophy of mind, “what makes something a mental state of a particular type does not depend on its internal constitution, but rather on the way (...) it functions, or the role it plays, in the system of which it is a part” (Levin 2008). The respective fates of these two positions may not be independent of each other. The claim that ExC is in some way a form of, dependent on, entailed by, or at least commonly played out in terms of, functionalism is now pretty much part of the received view of things (see, e.g., Adams and Aizawa 2008; Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2005, 2008, this volume a, b, forthcoming; Menary 2007; Rupert 2004; Sprevak manuscript; Wheeler forthcoming). Thus ExC might be mandated by the existence of functionally specified cognitive systems whose boundaries are located partly outside the skin. This is the position that Andy Clark has recently dubbed extended functionalism (Clark 2008, forthcoming; see also Wheeler forthcoming). (shrink)
“The Matrix is a computer-generated dreamworld built to keep us under control” Morpheus, early in The Matrix. “ In dreaming, you are not only out of control, you don’t even know it…I was completely duped again and again the minute my pons, my amygdala, my perihippocampal cortex, my anterior cingulate, my visual association and parietal opercular cortices were revved up and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was muffled” ” J. Allan Hobson, The Dream Drugstore, p.64 The Matrix is an exercise in (...) ambivalence, and at the very heart of that ambivalence lies the Dream. In our dreams, we are not in control. Real dreaming, unlike many popular philosophers’ fictions, is an altered state, closely related to the states induced by chemical manipulations such as the use of (certain) medical or recreational drugs. The dreaming brain is not like the wakeful brain. Normal sensory input is blocked, attentional capacities are impaired or lost, memory is distorted, reasoning and logic are weakened, narratives run wild, self-reflection is dampened or destroyed, emotion and instinct are hyperstimulated, and forms of ‘top-down’ willed control and decision-making diluted and easily overwhelmed. (shrink)
A very simple contextualist treatment of a sentence containing an epistemic modal, e.g. a might be F, is that it is true iff for all the contextually salient community knows, a is F. It is widely agreed that the simple theory will not work in some cases, but the counterexamples produced so far seem amenable to a more complicated contextualist theory. We argue, however, that no contextualist theory can capture the evaluations speakers naturally make of sentences containing epistemic modals. If (...) we want to respect these evaluations, our best option is a relativist theory of epistemic modals. On a relativist theory, an utterance of a might be F can be true relative to one context of evaluation and false relative to another. We argue that such a theory does better than any rival approach at capturing all the behaviour of epistemic modals. (shrink)
Introduction : brainbound versus extended -- From embodiment to cognitive extension -- The active body -- The negotiable body -- Material symbols -- World, Incorporated -- Boundary disputes -- Mind re-bound -- The cure for cognitive hiccups (HEMC, HEC, HEMC ...) -- Rediscovering the brain -- The limits of embodiment -- Painting, planning, and perceiving -- Disentangling embodiment -- Conclusions : mind-sized bites.
Dennett depicts human minds as both deeply different from, yet profoundly continuous with, the minds of other animals and simple agents. His treatments of mind, consciousness, free will and human agency all reflect this distinctive dual perspective. There is, on the one hand, the (in)famous Intentional Stance, relative to which humans, dogs, insects and even the lowly thermostat (e.g. Dennett (1998) p.327) are all pronounced capable of believing and desiring in essentially the same theoretical sense. And there is, on the (...) other hand, a noteworthy (and increasing) insistence that human minds are special in that they exhibit a distinctive kind of “informational organization”: one that confers consciousness (Dennett (1998) p.347), and creates the space for agency, purpose, self-control (Dennett (1984) p.100), and “significant suffering” (Dennett (1998) p.351). What follows is a critical examination of this dual perspective, and of Dennett’s account of the key factor that makes us special - human language and our immersion in the sea of culture (Dennett (1998) p.146, (1996) p.130, (in press) p.7). In particular, I shall ask whether Dennett’s dual perspective masks a deeper tension in his accounts of consciousness and personhood, and whether the appeal to the transformative power of human language and culture can bear the heavy explanatory burden Dennett places upon it. These turn out to be significant challenges but ones which also help clarify the scope and power of this complex, multi-layered account. I end by commenting briefly on the wider significance of Dennett’s project as a major contribution to current debates concerning the continuity (or otherwise) of evolved cognitive strategies and the essentially hybrid (biological and non-biological) nature of human minds and persons. (shrink)
It is bad news to find out that one's cognitive or perceptual faculties are defective. Furthermore, it’s not always transparent how one ought to revise one's beliefs in light of such news. Two sorts of news should be distinguished. On the one hand, there is news that a faculty is unreliable -- that it doesn't track the truth particularly well. On the other hand, there is news that a faculty is anti-reliable -- that it tends to go positively wrong. These (...) two sorts of news call for extremely different responses. We provide accounts of these responses, and prove bounds on the degree to which one can reasonably count oneself as mistaken about a given subject matter. (shrink)
There is a lot that we don’t know. That means that there are a lot of possibilities that are, epistemically speaking, open. For instance, we don’t know whether it rained in Seattle yesterday. So, for us at least, there is an epistemic possibility where it rained in Seattle yesterday, and one where it did not. It’s tempting to give a very simple analysis of epistemic possibility: • A possibility is an epistemic possibility if we do not know that it does (...) not obtain. But this is problematic for a few reasons. One issue, one that we’ll come back to, concerns the first two words. The analysis appears to quantify over possibilities. But what are they? As we said, that will become a large issue pretty soon, so let’s set it aside for now. A more immediate problem is that it isn’t clear what it is to have de re attitudes towards possibilities, such that we know a particular possibility does or doesn’t obtain. Let’s try rephrasing our analysis so that it avoids this complication. (shrink)
I am John's brain. In the flesh, I am just a rather undistinguished looking grey/white mass of cells. My surface is heavily convoluted and I am possessed of a fairly differentiated internal structure. John and I are on rather close and intimate terms; indeed, sometimes it is hard to tell us apart. But at times, John takes this intimacy a little too far. When that happens, he gets very confused about my role and functioning. He imagines that I organize and (...) process information in ways which echo his own perspective on the world. In short, he thinks that his thoughts are, in a rather direct sense, my thoughts. There is some truth to this of course. But things are really rather more complicated than John suspects, as I shall try to show. (shrink)
Andy Egan's Smoking Lesion and Psycho Button cases are supposed to be counterexamples to Causal Decision Theory. This paper argues that they are not: more precisely, it argues that if CDT makes the right call in Newcomb's problem then it makes the right call in Egan cases too.
This commentry focuses on the one major ecumenical theme propounded in Andy Clark's Being There that I find difficult to accept; this is Clarks advocacy, especially in the third and final part of the book, of the extended nature of the embedded, embodied mind.