ExtendedCognition (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)
When extendedcognition is extended into mainstream epistemology, an awkward tension arises when considering cases of environmental epistemic luck. Surprisingly, it is not at all clear how the mainstream verdict that agents lack knowledge in cases of environmental luck can be reconciled with principles central to extendedcognition.
I argue for the possibility of an extremely intimate connection between the emotional content of the music and the emotional state of the person who produces that music. Under certain specified conditions, the music may not just influence, but also partially constitute the musician’s emotional state.
We present a specific elaboration and partial defense of the claims that cognition is enactive, embodied, embedded, affective and (potentially) extended. According to the view we will defend, the enactivist claim that perception and cognition essentially depend upon the cognizer’s interactions with their environment is fundamental. If a particular instance of this kind of dependence obtains, we will argue, then it follows that cognition is essentially embodied and embedded, that the underpinnings of cognition are inextricable (...) from those of affect, that the phenomenon of cognition itself is essentially bound up with affect, and that the possibility of cognitive extension depends upon the instantiation of a specific mode of skillful interrelation between cognizer and environment. Thus, if cognition is enactive then it is also embodied, embedded, affective and potentially extended. (shrink)
This paper engages the extendedcognition controversy by advancing a theory which fits nicely into an attractive and surprisingly unoccupied conceptual niche situated comfortably between traditional individualism and the radical externalism espoused by the majority of supporters of the extended mind hypothesis. I call this theory moderate active externalism, or MAE. In alliance with other externalist theories of cognition, MAE is committed to the view that certain cognitive processes extend across brain, body, and world—a conclusion which (...) follows from a theory I develop in “Synergic Coordination: an argument for cognitive process externalism.” Yet, in contradistinction with radical externalism, and in agreement with the internalist orthodoxy, MAE defends the view that mental states are situated invariably inside our heads. This is done, inter alia, by developing a novel hypothesis regarding the vehicles of content (in “Extendedcognition without externalized mental states”, and by criticizing arguments in support of mental states externalism (in “Reflections and objections”). The result, I believe, is a coherent theoretical alternative worthy of serious consideration. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between several ideas about the mind and cognition. The hypothesis of extendedcognition claims that cognitive processes can and do extend outside the head, that elements of the world around us can actually become parts of our cognitive systems. It has recently been suggested that the hypothesis of extendedcognition is entailed by one of the foremost philosophical positions on the nature of the mind: functionalism, the thesis that mental states (...) are defined by their functional relations rather than by their physical constituents. Furthermore, it has been claimed that functionalism entails a version of extendedcognition which is sufficiently radical as to be obviously false. I survey the debate and propose several ways of avoiding this conclusion, emphasizing the importance of distinguishing the hypothesis of extendedcognition from the related notion of the extended mind. (shrink)
This paper introduces a new, expanded range of relevant cognitive psychological research on collaborative recall and social memory to the philosophical debate on extended and distributed cognition. We start by examining the case for extendedcognition based on the complementarity of inner and outer resources, by which neural, bodily, social, and environmental resources with disparate but complementary properties are integrated into hybrid cognitive systems, transforming or augmenting the nature of remembering or decision-making. Adams and Aizawa, noting (...) this distinctive complementarity argument, say that they agree with it completely: but they describe it as “a non-revolutionary approach” which leaves “the cognitive psychology of memory as the study of processes that take place, essentially without exception, within nervous systems.” In response, we carve out, on distinct conceptual and empirical grounds, a rich middle ground between internalist forms of cognitivism and radical anti-cognitivism. Drawing both on extendedcognition literature and on Sterelny’s account of the “scaffolded mind” (this issue), we develop a multidimensional framework for understanding varying relations between agents and external resources, both technological and social. On this basis we argue that, independent of any more “revolutionary” metaphysical claims about the partial constitution of cognitive processes by external resources, a thesis of scaffolded or distributed cognition can substantially influence or transform explanatory practice in cognitive science. Critics also cite various empirical results as evidence against the idea that remembering can extend beyond skull and skin. We respond with a more principled, representative survey of the scientific psychology of memory, focussing in particular on robust recent empirical traditions for the study of collaborative recall and transactive social memory. We describe our own empirical research on socially distributed remembering, aimed at identifying conditions for mnemonic emergence in collaborative groups. Philosophical debates about extended, embedded, and distributed cognition can thus make richer, mutually beneficial contact with independently motivated research programs in the cognitive psychology of memory. (shrink)
The Hypothesis of ExtendedCognition (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 extendedcognition 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. (shrink)
This paper will defend the cognitivist view of cognition against recent challenges from Andy Clark and Richard Menary. It will also indicate the important theoretical role that cognitivism plays in understanding some of the core issues surrounding the hypothesis of extendedcognition.
This paper explores several paths a distinctive third wave of extendedcognition might take. In so doing, I address a couple of shortcomings of first- and second-wave extendedcognition associated with a tendency to conceive of the properties of internal and external processes as fixed and non-interchangeable. First, in the domain of cognitive transformation, I argue that a problematic tendency of the complementarity model is that it presupposes that socio-cultural resources augment but do not significantly transform (...) the brain’s representational capacities during diachronic development. In this paper I show that there is available a much more dynamical explanation—one taking the processes of the brain’s enculturation into patterned practices as transforming the brain’s representational capacities. Second, in the domain of cognitive assembly, I argue that another problematic tendency is an individualistic notion of cognitive agency, since it overlooks the active contribution of socio-cultural practices in the assembly process of extended cognitive systems. In contrast to an individualistic notion of cognitive agency, I explore the idea that it is possible to decentralize cognitive agency to include socio-cultural practices. (shrink)
This paper will defend the cognitivist view of cognition against recent challenges from Andy Clark and Richard Menary. It will also indicate the important theoretical role that cognitivism plays in understanding some of the core issues surrounding the hypothesis of extendedcognition.
Andy Clark and David Chalmers claim that cognitive processes can and do extend outside the head.1 Call this the “hypothesis of extendedcognition” (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)
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 extendedcognition 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 extendedcognition 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 extendedcognition. Framing the radical extendedcognition hypothesis is a more delicate matter than framing the modal extendedcognition hypothesis, but something like the following is in the ballpark. The radical extendedcognition 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)
In this talk, we defend extendedcognition against several criticisms. We argue that extendedcognition does not derive from armchair theorizing and that it neither ignores the results of the neural sciences, nor minimizes the importance of the brain in the production of intelligent behavior. We also argue that explanatory success in the cognitive sciences does not depend on localist or reductionist methodologies; part of our argument for this is a defense of what might be called (...) ‘holistic 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 extendedcognition 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 extendedcognition 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 extendedcognition. Framing the radical extendedcognition hypothesis is a more delicate matter than framing the modal extendedcognition hypothesis, but something like the following is in the ballpark. The radical extendedcognition 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 extendedcognition. 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)
This paper explores the ramifications of the extendedcognition thesis in the philosophy of mind for contemporary epistemology. In particular, it argues that all theories of knowledge need to accommodate the ability intuition that knowledge involves cognitive ability, but that once this requirement is understood correctly there is no reason why one could not have a conception of cognitive ability that was consistent with the extendedcognition thesis. There is thus, surprisingly, a straightforward way of developing (...) our current thinking about knowledge such that it incorporates the extendedcognition thesis. (shrink)
The extended mind thesis (EM) asserts that some cognitive processes are (partially) composed of actions consisting of the manipulation and exploitation of environmental structures. Might some processes at the root of social cognition have a similarly extended structure? In this paper, I argue that social cognition is fundamentally an interactive form of space management—the negotiation and management of ‘‘we-space”—and that some of the expressive actions involved in the negotiation and management of we-space (gesture, touch, facial and (...) whole-body expressions) drive basic processes of interpersonal understanding and thus do genuine social-cognitive work. Social interaction is a kind of extended social cognition, driven and at least partially constituted by environmental (non-neural) scaffolding. Challenging the Theory of Mind paradigm, I draw upon research from gesture studies, developmental psychology, and work on Moebius Syndrome to support this thesis. (shrink)
This paper examines the justification for the hypothesis of extendedcognition (HEC). HEC claims that human cognitive processes can, and often do, extend outside our heads to include objects in the environment. HEC has been justified by inference to the best explanation (IBE). Both advocates and critics of HEC claim that we should infer the truth value of HEC based on whether HEC makes a positive, or negative, explanatory contribution to cognitive science. I argue that IBE cannot play (...) this epistemic role. A serious rival to HEC exists with a differing truth value, and this invalidates IBEs for both the truth and falsity of HEC. Explanatory value to cognitive science cannot be used as a guide to the truth value of HEC. (shrink)
The Credit Theory of Knowledge (CTK)—as expressed by such figures as John Greco, Wayne Riggs, and Ernest Sosa—holds that knowing that p implies deserving epistemic credit for truly believing that p . Opponents have presented three sorts of counterexamples to CTK: S might know that p without deserving credit in cases of (1) innate knowledge (Lackey, Kvanvig); (2) testimonial knowledge (Lackey); or (3) perceptual knowledge (Pritchard). The arguments of Lackey, Kvanvig and Pritchard, however, are effective only in so far as (...) one is willing to accept a set of controversial background assumptions (for instance, that innate knowledge exists or that doxastic voluntarism is wrong). In this paper I mount a fourth argument against CTK, that doesn’t rest on any such controversial premise, and therefore should convince a much wider audience. In particular, I show that in cases of extendedcognition (very broadly conceived), the most salient feature explaining S ’s believing the truth regarding p may well be external to S , that is, it might be a feature of S ’s (non-human, artifactual) environment. If so, the cognitive achievement of knowing that p is not (or only marginally) creditable to S , and hence, CTK is false. (shrink)
Pritchard (Synthese 175,133–51, 2010) and Vaesen (Synthese forthcoming) have recently argued that robust virtue epistemology does not square with the extendedcognition thesis that has enjoyed an increasing degree of popularity in recent philosophy of mind. This paper shows that their arguments fail. The relevant cases of extendedcognition pose no new problem for robust virtue epistemology. It is shown that Pritchard’s and Vaesen’s cases can be dealt with in familiar ways by a number of virtue (...) theories of knowledge. (shrink)
I take up the question of how models of extendedcognition might redirect the academic study of religion. Entering into a conversation of sorts with Emile Durkheim and Bruno Latour regarding the "overtakenness" of social agency, I argue that a robust portrait of extendedcognition must redirect our interest in explaining religion in two key ways. First, religious studies should take up the methodological principle of symmetry that informs contemporary histories of science and begin theorizing the (...) efficacy of gods as social actors. Second, theorists of religion should begin noting how the work required to construct spaces in which the gods appear depends on the construction of disciplined and capable subjects. (shrink)
Prominent defenders of the extendedcognition thesis have looked to evolutionary theory for support. Roughly, the idea is that natural selection leads one to expect that cognitive strategies should exploit the environment, and exploitation of the right sort results in a cognitive system that extends beyond the head of the organism. I argue that proper appreciation of evolutionary theory should create no such expectation. This leaves open whether cognitive systems might in fact bear a relationship to the environment (...) that leads to their extension. *Received July 2009; revised January 2010. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, 5185 Helen C. White Hall, 600 North Park Street, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
This paper explores several paths by which the extendedcognition (EC) thesis may overcome the coupling-constitution fallacy. In so doing, I address a couple of shortcomings in the contemporary literature. First, on the dimension of first-wave EC, I argue that constitutive arguments based on functional parity suffer from either a threat of cognitive bloat or an impasse with respect to determining the correct level of grain in the attribution of causal-functional roles. Second, on the dimension of second-wave EC, (...) I argue that especially the complementarity approach suffers from a similar sort of dilemma as first-wave EC: an inability to justify just what entails the ontological claim of EC over the scaffolding claim of weaker approaches in cognitive science. In this paper I show that two much more promising explanations by which to ground the ontological claim of EC are available, both starting from an exploration of the coordination dynamics between environmental resources and neural resources. On the one hand, I argue that second-wave EC based on cognitive integration, with its focus on bodily manipulations constrained by cognitive norms, is capable of resolving the coupling-constitution fallacy. On the other hand, I argue that the framework of cognitive integration can be supplemented by philosophical accounts of mechanistic explanation, because such accounts enable us to explain the emergence of higher-level cognitive properties due to a system's organization-dependent structure. (shrink)
This article examines the intersection of the theory of extended mind/cognition and theory of knowledge. In the minds of some, it matters to conditions for knowing whether the mind extends beyond the boundaries of body and brain. I examine these intuitions and find no support for this view from tracking theories of knowledge. I then argue that the apparent difference extended mind is supposed to have for ability or credit theories is also illusory.
Extendedcognition is the view that some cognitive processes extend beyond the brain. One prominent strategy of arguing against extendedcognition is to offer necessary conditions on cognition and argue that the proposed extended processes fail to satisfy these conditions. I argue that this strategy is misguided and fails to refute extendedcognition. I suggest a better way to evaluate the case for extendedcognition that should be acceptable to all (...) parties, captures the intuitiveness of previous objections, and avoids the problems with the strategy of offering necessary conditions on cognition. I conclude that extendedcognition theorists have failed to establish the truth of extendedcognition. (shrink)
Advocates of extendedcognition argue that the boundaries of cognition span brain, body, and environment. Critics maintain that cognitive processes are confined to a boundary centered on the individual. All participants to this debate require a criterion for distinguishing what is internal to cognition from what is external. Yet none of the available proposals are completely successful. I offer a new account, the mutual manipulability account, according to which cognitive boundaries are determined by relationships of mutual (...) manipulability between the properties and activities of putative components and the overall behavior of the cognitive mechanism in which they figure. Among its main advantages, this criterion is capable of (a) distinguishing components of cognition from causal background conditions and lower-level correlates, and (b) showing how the core hypothesis of extendedcognition can serve as a legitimate empirical hypothesis amenable to experimental test and confirmation. Conceiving the debate in these terms transforms the current clash over extendedcognition into a substantive empirical debate resolvable on the basis of evidence from cognitive science and neuroscience. (shrink)
A recent set of experiments of ours supported the notion of a transition in experience from readiness-to-hand to unreadiness-tohand proposed by phenomenological philosopher Martin Heidegger. They were also an experimental demonstration of an extended cognitive system. We generated and then temporarily disrupted an interaction- dominant system that spans a human participant, a computer mouse, and a task performed on the computer screen. Our claim that this system was interaction dominant was based on the detection of 1/f noise at the (...) hand-tool interface. The inference from the presence of 1/f noise to the presence of an interaction-dominant system is occasionally disputed. Increasing evidence suggests that inference from multifractality to interaction dominance is more certain than 1/f- like scaling alone. In this paper, we reanalyze the data using the wavelet transform modulus maxima method, showing that the human-mouse system displays multifractality. This reinforces our claims that the system is interaction dominant. (shrink)
According to the thesis of the extended mind (EM) , at least some token cognitive processes extend into the cognizing subject's environment in the sense that they are (partly) composed of manipulative, exploitative, and transformative operations performed by that subject on suitable environmental structures. EM has attracted four ostensibly distinct types of objection. This paper has two goals. First, it argues that these objections all reduce to one basic sort: all the objections can be resolved by the provision of (...) an adequate and properly motivated criterion—or mark—of the cognitive. Second, it provides such a criterion—one made up of four conditions that are sufficient for a process to count as cognitive. (shrink)
In a recent contribution to this journal, Andrew Fenton and Sheri Alpert have argued that the so-called “extended mind hypothesis” allows us to understand why Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) have the potential to change the self of patients suffering from Locked-in syndrome (LIS) by extending their minds beyond their bodies. I deny that this can shed any light on the theoretical, or philosophical, underpinnings of BCIs as a tool for enabling communication with, or bodily action by, patients with LIS: (...) BCIs are not a case of cognitive extension. I argue that Fenton and Alpert’s claim to the contrary is the result of a widespread confusion about some related, but significantly different, approaches to cognition that all fall under the heading of “situated cognition.” I first provide a short taxonomy of various situated approaches to cognition, highlighting (some of) their important commonalities and differences, which should dissolve some of the confusions surrounding them. Then I show why the extended mind hypothesis is unsuitable as a model of BCI enhancements of LIS patients’ capacity to interact with their surroundings, and I argue that the situated approach with obvious bearings on the sort of questions that were driving Fenton and Alpert is not the idea that cognition is extended , but the idea that cognition is enacted. (shrink)
My goal in this paper is to generalize Kirsh and Maglio’s (1994) distinction between pragmatic and epistemic actions from the level of individuals to the level of groups. I use the concept of a collective epistemic action to refer to the ways in which groups of people actively change the structure of their social organization, with the epistemic goal of reshaping and augmenting their cognitive performance as integrated collectivities. By placing a renewed emphasis on the interactions between people, rather than (...) between people and their tools I hope to reconnect the cognitive-scientifically-driven “extended mind” thesis (Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2008) with complementary areas of social-scientific research in which groups are analyzed as the seats of action and cognition in their own right. In particular, the literature to which I aim to build a bridge in this paper are certain segments of social and organizational psychology on the one hand (Larsen and Christensen 1993; Hinsz et al. 1997, Mohammed and Dumville 2001), and theories of collective and institutional action on the other hand (Ostrom 1990, List and Pettit 2011). (shrink)
Researchers in the enactivist tradition have recently argued that social interaction can constitute social cognition, rather than simply serve as the context for social cognition. They contend that a focus on social interaction corrects the overemphasis on mechanisms inside the individual in the explanation of social cognition. I critically assess enactivism’s claims about the explanatory role of social interaction in social cognition. After sketching the enactivist approach to cognition in general and social cognition in (...) particular, I identify problems with an enactivist taxonomy of roles for social interaction in the explanation of social cognition (contextual, enabling, and constitutive). In particular, I show that this enactivist taxonomy does not clearly distinguish between enabling conditions and constitutive elements, which would make them in danger of committing the coupling-constitution fallacy found in some attempts to extend cognition. I explore resources enactivism has to more clearly demarcate constitutive parts of a cognitive system, but identify problems in applying them to some of the main cases of social cognition enactivists characterize as being constituted by social interaction. I offer the mechanistic approach to explanation as an alternative that captures much of what enactivists want to say about the relations between social and individual levels, but views social interactions from the perspective of embedded cognition rather than as being constitutive of social cognition. (shrink)
In the early years of the 1990s, a number of philosophers and cognitive scientists became enthused about the idea that mental states are spatially and temporally distributed in the brain, and that this has significant consequences for philosophy of mind. Daniel Dennett (1991), for example, appealed to the spatial and temporal distribution of cognitive processes in the brain in order to argue that there is no unified place where or time when consciousness occurs in the brain. Dennett used this interim (...) conclusion as a premise in a series of arguments designed to undermine what he calls the “Cartesian Theater” view of consciousness, according to which there is an independent and fact of the matter about when and where conscious mental states occur. Most famously, Dennett argues that anyone who believes there are such facts of the matter must choose between “Orwellian” and “Stalinesque” theories of the timing of consciousness, in order to accommodate certain data about the spatial distribution of the timing of consciousness-related brain events. But, he claims, that distinction is a distinction without a difference: The choice between “Orwellian” and “Stalinesque” views is either nonsense, or at the very least one that we could never be justified in making. And this, Dennett takes it, is a reductio ad absurdum of any theory of consciousness that says there is a fact of the matter about when and where is occurs. (shrink)
This paper pursues two lines of thought that help characterize the differences between some versions of virtue epistemology and the hypothesis that cognitive processes are realized by brain, body, and world.
In this paper, we approach the idea of group cognition from the perspective of the “extended mind” thesis, as a special case of the more general claim that systems larger than the individual human, but containing that human, are capable of cognition (Clark, 2008; Clark & Chalmers, 1998). Instead of deliberating about “the mark of the cognitive” (Adams & Aizawa, 2008), our discussion of group cognition is tied to particular cognitive capacities. We review recent studies of (...) group problem-solving and group memory which reveal that specific cognitive capacities that are commonly ascribed to individuals are also aptly ascribed at the level of groups. These case studies show how dense interactions among people within a group lead to both similarity-inducing and differentiating dynamics that affect the group's ability to solve problems. This supports our claim that groups have organization-dependent cognitive capacities that go beyond the simple aggregation of the cognitive capacities of individuals. Group cognition is thus an emergent phenomenon in the sense of Wimsatt (1986). We further argue that anybody who rejects our strategy for showing that cognitive properties can be instantiated at multiple levels in the organizational hierarchy on a priori grounds is a “demergentist,” and thus incurs the burden of proof for explaining why cognitive properties are “stuck” at a certain level of organizational structure. Finally, we show that our analysis of group cognition escapes the “coupling-constitution” charge that has been leveled against the extended mind thesis (Adams & Aizawa, 2008). (shrink)
Does cognition sometimes literally extend into the extra-organismic environment (Clark, 2003), or is it always “merely” environmentally embedded (Rupert, 2004)? Underlying this current border dispute is the question about how to individuate cognitive processes on principled grounds. Based on recent evidence about the active role of representation selection and construction in learning how to reason (Stenning, 2002), I raise the question: what makes two distinct, modality-specific pen-and-paper manipulations of external representations – diagrams versus sentences – cognitive processes of the (...) same kind, e.g. episodes of syllogistic reasoning? In response, I defend a “division of labor” hypothesis, according to which external representations are dependent on perceptually grounded neural representations and mechanisms to guide our behavior; these internal mechanisms, however, are dependent on external representations to have their syllogistic content fixed. Only their joint contributions qualify the extended computational process as an episode of syllogistic reasoning in good standing. (shrink)
One of the liveliest debates about cognition concerns whether our cognition sometimes extends beyond our brains and bodies. One party says Yes, another No. This paper shows that debate between these parties has been epistemologically confused and requires reorienting. Both parties frequently appeal to empirical considerations and to extra-empirical theoretical virtues to support claims about where cognition is. These things should constrain their claims, but cannot do all the work hoped. This is because of the overlooked fact, (...) uncovered in this paper, that we could never distinguish the rival views empirically or by typical theoretical virtues. I show this by drawing on recent work on testing, predictive accuracy, and theoretical virtues. The recommendation to emerge is that we step back from debate about where cognition is, to the epistemology of what cognition is. (shrink)
Recent developments under the keywords dynamicism, embodiment and situated cognition suggest the view that cognitive systems are not confined to the neural sys‐tem but leak into the world beyond the traditional system boundaries. This is the thesis of extendedcognition. Such an extension of the cognitive vehicles leads to a new kind of content externalism, known as active externalism. The essay pursues three objectives: firstly, to distinguish the theses of extended cognitive and active externalism. Secondly, to (...) delineate active externalism from its various passive-externalist precursors in the form of physical, historical and social externalism and to scrutinize its special position, which amounts to a comprehensive discussion and analysis of all variants of mental externalism. And thirdly, to show that social externalism as opposed to physical and historical externalism allows for a gradual transition from passive to active mental externalism. (shrink)
The “extended mind” thesis (Clark, 2008) has focused primarily on the interactions between single individuals and cognitive artifacts, resulting in a relative neglect of interactions between people. At the same time, the idea that groups can have cognitive properties of their own has gained new ascendancy in various fields concerned with collective behavior. My main goal in this paper is to propose an understanding of group cognition as an emergent form of socially distributed cognition. To that end, (...) I first clarify the relevant notions of cognition and emergence that are at play in the contemporary debate. I then apply our conceptual framework to recent developments in the theory of transactive memory systems (Wegner, 1986), arguing that the idea of group cognition is neither trivial nor shrouded in metaphysical mystery. (shrink)
For Descartes, minds were essentially non-extended things. Contemporary cognitive science prides itself on having exorcised the Cartesian ghost from the biological machine. However, it remains committed to the Cartesian vision of the mental as something purely inner. Against the idea that the mind resides solely in the brain, advocates of the situated and embodied nature of cognition have long stressed the importance of dynamic brain-body-environment couplings, the opportunistic exploitation of bodily morphology, the strategic performance of epistemically potent actions, (...) the generation and use of external representations, and the cognitive scaffolding provided by artifacts and social-cultural practices. According to the “extended mind” thesis, a significant portion of human cognition literally extends beyond the brain into the body and its environment. My goal in this book is to clarify the nature and scope of this thesis, and to defend its central insight that cognition is not confined to the boundaries of the biological individual. (shrink)
This special issue, which includes papers ﬁrst presented at two workshops on ‘Memory, Mind, and Media’ in Sydney on November 29–30 and December 2–3, 2004, showcases some of the best interdisciplinary work in philosophy and psychology by memory researchers in Australasia (and by one expatriate Australian, Robert Wilson of the University of Alberta). The papers address memory in many contexts: in dance and under hypnosis, in social groups and with siblings, in early childhood and in the laboratory. Memory is taken (...) as a test case for evaluating the optimistic vision of a new kind of cognitive science defended by Andy Clark. Clark (2001:154) argues: Much of what matters about human intelligence is hidden not in the brain, nor in the technology, but in the complex and iterated interactions and collaborations between the two ... The study of these interaction spaces is not easy, and depends both on new multidisciplinary alliances and new forms of modelling and analysis. The pay-oﬀ, however, could be spectacular: nothing less than a new kind of cognitive scientiﬁc collaboration involving neuroscience, physiology, and social, cultural, and technological studies in about equal measure. So the central motivation is to investigate critically how well the case of memory would ﬁt the extended mind’ thesis put forward by Clark and Chalmers (Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 1997, 2006)—according to which mental states and processes can spread across the.. (shrink)
I critically assess two widely cited evolutionary biological arguments for two versions of the ‘Extended Mind Thesis’ (EMT): namely, an argument appealing to Dawkins’s ‘Extended Phenotype Thesis’ (EPT) and an argument appealing to ‘Developmental Systems Theory’ (DST). Specifically, I argue that, firstly, appealing to the EPT is not useful for supporting the EMT (in either version), as it is structured and motivated too differently from the latter to be able to corroborate or elucidate it. Secondly, I extend and (...) defend Rupert’s argument that DST also fails to support or elucidate the EMT (in either version) by showing that the considerations in favour of the former theory have no bearing on the truth of the latter. I conclude by noting that the relevance of this discussion goes beyond the debate surrounding the EMT, as it brings out some of the difficulties of introducing evolutionary biological considerations into debates in psychology and philosophy more generally. (shrink)
This book is about the epistemologically different worlds (hyperverse) in relationship with the "I", the mind-body problem (Frith, Llinas), Bechtel's mechanisms, Clark's extended mind, Bickle's molecular and cellular cognition, Kauffman's life, quantum mechanics, gravity, hyperspace vs. hyperverse -/- .
Recent experimental evidence from developmental psychology and cogni- tive neuroscience indicates that humans are equipped with unlearned elementary math- ematical skills. However, formal mathematics has properties that cannot be reduced to these elementary cognitive capacities. The question then arises how human beings cognitively deal with more advanced mathematical ideas. This paper draws on the extended mind thesis to suggest that mathematical symbols enable us to delegate some mathematical operations to the external environment. In this view, mathematical symbols are not (...) only used to express mathematical concepts—they are constitutive of the mathematical concepts themselves. Mathematical symbols are epistemic actions, because they enable us to represent concepts that are literally unthinkable with our bare brains. Using case-studies from the history of mathematics and from educational psychology, we argue for an intimate relationship between mathematical symbols and mathematical cognition. (shrink)
In Cognitive Integration: Attacking The Bounds of Cognition Richard Menary argues that the real pay-off from extended-mind-style arguments is not a new form of externalism in the philosophy of mind, but a view in which the 'internal' and 'external' aspects of cognition are integrated into a whole. Menary argues that the manipulation of external vehicles constitutes cognitive processes and that cognition is hybrid: internal and external processes and vehicles complement one another in the completion of cognitive (...) tasks. However, we cannot make good on these claims without understanding the cognitive norms by which we manipulate bodily external vehicles of cognition. -/- Shaun Gallagher: “Menary sets out some extremely welcome clarifications that help to integrate the models of embodied and extendedcognition. He not only provides convincing responses to all of the main objections that have been made against these approaches, he also puts flesh on the integrated model by incorporating concepts such as epistemic action, by expanding the discussion to include a Peircean view of representation, by demonstrating its evolutionary roots, and by exploring its implications for language and cognition. This is one of those books that takes us forward a number of giant steps. Menary makes it comprehensive and comprehensible.” . (shrink)
Most philosophical accounts of emergence are based on supervenience, with supervenience being an ontologically synchronic relation of determination. This conception of emergence as a relation of supervenience, I will argue, is unable to make sense of the kinds of emergence that are widespread in self-organizing and nonlinear dynamical systems, including distributed cognitive systems. In these dynamical systems, an emergent property is ontological (i.e., the causal capacities of P, where P is an emergent feature, are not reducible to causal capacities of (...) the parts, and may exert a top-down causal influence on the parts of the system) and diachronic (i.e., the relata of emergence are temporally extended, and P emerges as a result of some dynamical lower-level processes that unfold in real time). (shrink)
Vision constitutes an interesting domain, or range of domains, for debate over the extended mind thesis, the idea that minds physically extend beyond the boundaries of the body. In part this is because vision and visual experience more particularly are sometimes presented as a kind of line in the sand for what we might call externalist creep about the mind: once all reasonable concessions have been made to externalists about the mind, visual experience marks a line beyond which lies (...) a safe haven for individualists. Here I want to put a little more pressure on such a view of visual experience, as well as to offer a more constructive, positive argument in defense of the idea of extended vision. (shrink)
Adams and Aizawa (2010b) define cognitivism as the processing of representations with underived content. In this paper, I respond to their use of this stipulative definition of cognition. I look at the plausibility of Adams and Aizawa’s cognitivism, taking into account that they have no criteria for cognitive representation and no naturalistic theory of content determination. This is a glaring hole in their cognitivism—which requires both a theory of representation and underived content to be successful. I also explain why (...) my own position, cognitive integration, is not susceptible to the supposed causal-coupling fallacy. Finally, I look at the more interesting question of whether the distinction between derived and underived content is important for cognition. Given Adams and Aizawa’s concession that there is no difference in content between derived and underived representations (only a difference in how they get their content) I conclude that the distinction is not important and show that there is empirical research which does not respect the distinction. (shrink)
The complex systems approach to cognitive science invites a new understanding of extended cognitive systems. According to this understanding, extended cognitive systems are heterogenous, composed of brain, body, and niche, non-linearly coupled to one another. This view of cognitive systems, as non-linearly coupled brain–body–niche systems, promises conceptual and methodological advances. In this article we focus on two of these. First, the fundamental interdependence among brain, body, and niche makes it possible to explain extendedcognition without invoking (...) representations or computation. Second, cognition and conscious experience can be understood as a single phenomenon, eliminating fruitless philosophical discussion of qualia and the so-called hard problem of consciousness. What we call “extended phenomenological-cognitive systems” are relational and dynamical entities, with interactions among heterogeneous parts at multiple spatial and temporal scales. (shrink)
Robert Rupert is well-known as an vigorous opponent of the hypothesis of extendedcognition (HEC). His Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind is a first-rate development of his “systems-based” approach to demarcating the mind. The results are impressive. Rupert’s account brings much-needed clarity to the often-frustrating debate over HEC: much more than just an attack on HEC, he gives a compelling picture of why the debate matters.
Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind surveys philosophical issues raised by the situated movement in cognitive science, that is, the treatment of cognitive phenomena as the joint product of brain, body, and environment. The book focuses primarily on the hypothesis of extendedcognition, which asserts that human cognitive processes literally comprise elements beyond the boundary of the human organism. Rupert argues that the only plausible way in which to demarcate cognitions is systems-based: cognitive states or processes are (...) the states of the integrated set of mechanisms and capacities that contribute casually and distinctively to the production of cognitive phenomena--for example, language-use, memory, decision-making, theory construction, and, more importantly, the associated forms of behavior. Rupert argues that this integrated systems is most likely to appear within the boundaries of the human organism. He argues that the systems-based view explains the existing successes of cognitive psychology and cognate fields in a way that extended conceptions of cognition do not, and that once the systems-based view has been adopted, it is especially clear how extant arguments in support of the extended view go wrong. Cognitive Systems also examines further aspects of the situated program in cognitive science, including the embedded and embodied approaches to cognition. Rupert asks to what extent the plausible incarnations of these situated views depart from orthodox, computational cognitive science. Here, Rupert focuses on the notions of representation and computation, arguing that the embedded and embodied views do not constitute the radical shifts in perspective they are often claimed to be. Rupert also argues that, properly understood, the embodied view does not offer a new role for the body, different in principle from the one presupposed by orthodox cognitive science. (shrink)
An alarming number of philosophers and cognitive scientists have argued that mind extends beyond the brain and body. This book evaluates these arguments and suggests that, typically, it does not. A timely and relevant study that exposes the need to develop a more sophisticated theory of cognition, while pointing to a bold new direction in exploring the nature of cognition Articulates and defends the “mark of the cognitive”, a common sense theory used to distinguish between cognitive and non-cognitive (...) processes Challenges the current popularity of extendedcognition theory through critical analysis and by pointing out fallacies and shortcoming in the literature Stimulates discussions that will advance debate about the nature of cognition in the cognitive sciences. (shrink)
The extended mind hypothesis (EMH) is the claim that the mind can and does extend beyond the human body. Adams and Aizawa (A&A) contend that arguments for EMH commit a ‘coupling constitution fallacy’. We deny that the master argument for EMH commits such a fallacy. But we think that there is an important question lurking behind A&A's allegation: under what conditions is cognition spread across a tightly coupled system? Building on some suggestions from Haugeland, we contend that the (...) system must exhibit a distinctive sort of semantic activity, semantic activity that the system as a whole takes responsibility for. (shrink)
In this commentary to Serrano et al. (2013), I applaud this foundation article for being a breath of fresh air because it addresses the question “What is cognition?” Too often in the cognitive sciences, we leave that question unanswered or worse, unasked. I come not to criticize but to offer a helpful suggestion aimed a pulling together some of the separate strands weaved throughout this article.
To know is to cognize, to cognize is to be a culturally bounded, rationality-bounded and environmentally located agent. Knowledge and cognition are thus dual aspects of human sociality. If social epistemology has the formation, acquisition, mediation, transmission and dissemination of knowledge in complex communities of knowers as its subject matter, then its third party character is essentially stigmergic. In its most generic formulation, stigmergy is the phenomenon of indirect communication mediated by modifications of the environment. Extending this notion one (...) might conceive of social stigmergy as the extra-cranial analog of an artifcial neural network providing epistemic structure. This paper recommends a stigmergic framework for social epistemology to account for the supposed tension between individual action, wants and beliefs and the social corpora. We also propose that the so-called "extended mind" thesis offers the requisite stigmergic cognitive analog to stigmergic knowledge. Stigmergy as a theory of interaction within complex systems theory is illustrated through an example that runs on a particle swarm optimization algorithm. (shrink)
According to the extendedcognition 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)
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)
As is widely known, the last 25 years have seen an acceleration in the development of theories of emotion. Perhaps less well-known is that the last three years have seen an extended defense of a predominant, though not universally accepted, framework for the understanding of emotion in philosophy and psychology. The central claim of this framework is that emotions are a form of evaluative response to their intentional objects, centrally involving cognition or something akin to cognition, in (...) which the evaluation of the object relates to the concerns, interests, or well-being of the subject. I aim to summarize and review the work of five authors on three of the central themes of this framework, and to note some implications for the understanding of emotion in different psychotherapeutic approaches. (shrink)
Talk of group minds has arisen in a number of distinct traditions, such as in sociological thinking about the “madness of crowds” in the 19th-century, and more recently in making sense of the collective intelligence of social insects, such as bees and ants. Here we provide an analytic framework for understanding a range of contemporary appeals to group minds and cognate notions, such as collective agency, shared intentionality, socially distributed cognition, transactive memory systems, and group-level cognitive adaptations.
The argument of this paper is that we should think of the extension of cognitive abilities and cognitive character in integrationist terms. Cognitive abilities are extended by acquired practices of creating and manipulating information that is stored in a publicly accessible environment. I call these cognitive practices (2007). In contrast to Pritchard (2010) I argue that such processes are integrated into our cognitive characters rather than artefacts; such as notebooks. There are two routes to cognitive extension that I contrast (...) in the paper, the first I call artefact extension which is the now classic position of the causal coupling of an agent with an artefact. This approach needs to overcome the objection from cognitive outsourcing: that we simply get an artefact or tool to do the cognitive processing for us without extending our cognitive abilities. Enculturated cognition, by contrast, does not claim that artefacts themselves extend our cognitive abilities, but rather that the acquired practices for manipulating artefacts and the information stored in them extend our cognitive abilities (by augmenting and transforming them). In the rest of the paper I provide a series of arguments and cases which demonstrate that an enculturated approach works better for both epistemic and cognitive cases of the extension of ability and character. (shrink)
Wegner, Giuliano, and Hertel (1985) defined the notion of a transactive memory system (TMS) as a group level memory system that “involves the operation of the memory systems of the individuals and the processes of communication that occur within the group (p. 191). Those processes are the collaborative procedures (“transactions”) by which groups encode, store, and retrieve information that is distributed among their members. Over the past 25+ years, the conception of a TMS has progressively garnered an increased interest among (...) social and organizational psychologists, communication scholars, and management theorists (Ren & Argote 2011). But there remains considerable disagreement about how exactly Wegner’s appeal to group memory should be understood. My goal in this paper is contribute to this debate, by articulating more clearly the value of conceptualizing groups as TMSs. This value, I argue, consists in providing us with a blueprint for how to explain group memory in terms of collective information-processing mechanisms. Collective information-processing mechanisms are dependent on, and interact with, the brain-bound information-processing of individuals, but cannot be reduced to the latter. In my analysis, I lean on extant accounts of mechanistic explanation in the philosophy of science (Bechtel & Richardson 1993; Machamer, Darden, & Craver 2000; Wimsatt 2007) that have been used to analyze the explanatory practices of psychology and cognitive neuroscience (Bechtel 2008, 2009). Based on my reconstruction of Wegner’s conceptualization of a TMS, I argue that the reality of emergent group cognition is compatible with its mechanistic explanation. More generally, my analysis shows that group cognition cannot be reduced to individual cognition, while avoiding the false dilemma between “wholism” and “nothing but-ism” which has hampered traditional construals of the “group mind” thesis (Allport 1968). (shrink)
In my dissertation, I explore the remarkable talent of human beings to modify and co-opt resources of their material and socio-cultural environment, and integrate them with their biological capacities in order to enhance their cognitive prowess. In the first part, I clarify and defend the claim – known as the extended mind thesis – that a significant portion of human cognition literally extends beyond the head into the world, actively incorporating our bodies and an intricate web of material (...) resources (Clark, 2003, 2008; Wilson, 2004). Yet since much of distinctively human cognition occurs when we think in groups, I argue that the bias of this thesis to view cognition as an essentially solitary (albeit bodily or technologically extended) activity is misplaced. In the second part, I re-deploy the idea of cognitive extensions to establish a scientifically respectable version of the group mind thesis – i.e., the claim that groups can have emergent cognitive properties and capacities in their own right. (shrink)
This paper will defend the claim that, under certain circumstances, the material vehicles responsible for an agent’s conscious experience can be partly constituted by processes outside the agent’s body. In other words, the consciousness of the agent can extend. This claim will be supported by the Extended Mind Thesis (EMT) example of the artist and their sketchpad (Clark 2001, 2003). It will be argued that if this example is one of EMT, then this example also supports an argument for (...) consciousness extension. Clark (2009) rejects claims of consciousness extension. This paper will challenge Clark and argue that he fails to show that the material vehicles responsible for consciousness must be internal to the agent. (shrink)
We define a mathematical formalism based on the concept of an ‘‘open dynamical system” and show how it can be used to model embodied cognition. This formalism extends classical dynamical systems theory by distinguishing a ‘‘total system’’ (which models an agent in an environment) and an ‘‘agent system’’ (which models an agent by itself), and it includes tools for analyzing the collections of overlapping paths that occur in an embedded agent's state space. To illustrate the way this formalism can (...) be applied, several neural network models are embedded in a simple model environment. Such phenomena as masking, perceptual ambiguity, and priming are then observed. We also use this formalism to reinterpret examples from the embodiment literature, arguing that it provides for a more thorough analysis of the relevant phenomena. (shrink)
Embodied and extendedcognition is a relatively new paradigm within cognitive science that challenges the basic tenet of classical cognitive science, viz. cognition consists in building and manipulating internal representations. Some of the pioneers of embodied cognitive science have claimed that this new way of conceptualizing cognition puts pressure on epistemological and ontological realism. In this paper I will argue that such anti-realist conclusions do not follow from the basic assumptions of radical embodied cognitive science. Furthermore (...) I will show that one can develop a form of realism that reflects rather than just accommodates the core principles of non-representationalist embodied cognitive science. (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 CognitionExtended or Only Embedded? 7. Letting Nature Take Its Course.
We offer an argument for the extended mind based on considerations from brain development. We argue that our brains develop to function in partnership with cognitive resources located in our external environments. Through our cultural upbringing we are trained to use artefacts in problem solving that become factored into the cognitive routines our brains support. Our brains literally grow to work in close partnership with resources we regularly and reliably interact with. We take this argument to be in line (...) with complementarity or “second-wave” defences of the extended mind that stress the functional differences between biological elements and external, environmental resources in putative cases of extendedcognition. Complementarity defences argue that many of the kinds of cognition humans excel at can only be accomplished by brains working together with a body that directly manipulates and acts on the world [Rowlands (1999); Menary (2007); Sutton (2010)]. We argue that complementarity and functionalist defences of the extended mind aren’t opposed, but that complementarity considerations can provide much needed and hitherto under exploited leverage in defending EMT. Moreover, the developmental work we will describe adds extra weight to the complementarity case for EMT. (shrink)
The hypothesis of extendedcognition (HEC), or the claim that cognitive processes are not entirely organism-bound and can extend into the world, has received a barrage of criticism. Likewise, defenders of HEC have responded and even retreated into more moderate positions. In this paper, I trace the debate, rehearsing what I take to be the three strongest cases against HEC: nonderived content, causally natural kinds, and informational integration. I then argue that so far, the replies have been unsatisfactory, (...) mainly because they rest on tacit assumptions about the nature of ?human organisms,? which are the very subjects in question. One such reply, Clark's (2008) recent hypothesis of organism-centered cognition (HOC), is shown to be a particularly hasty retreat, specifically in terms of tackling the issue of informational integration. Namely, my position is that Clark concedes too quickly that the organism is the ?chief executor? of this cognitive function and I claim this on the grounds that (1) not all human organisms integrate information in the way Weiskopf (2008) argues they do, and (2) it is not impossible for external tools to be an informationally integrative component of a ?systemic whole.? (shrink)
Might there be extendedcognition and thereby extended minds? Rightly, that possibility is being investigated at present by philosophers of mind. Should epistemologists share that spirit, by inquiring into the possibility of extended knowing and thereby of extended knowers? Indeed so, I argue. The key to this shift of emphasis will be an epistemologically improved understanding of the implications of epistemic externalism.
We very often grant that a person can gain knowledge on the basis of epistemic artifacts such as telescopes, microscopes and so on. However, this intuition threatens to undermine virtue reliabilism according to which one knows that p if and only if one’s believing the truth that p is the product of a reliable cognitive belief-forming process; in an obvious sense epistemic artifacts are not parts of one’s overall cognitive system. This is so, unless the extendedcognition hypothesis (...) (HEC) is true. According to HEC when parts of the environment become properly coupled to the agent’s brain then they too can be considered constitutive parts of the overall cognitive mechanism—i.e. cognition potentially extends to the world surrounding the agent. Interestingly, HEC and the broader framework of virtue reliabilism share some intriguing similarities, which render these two views mutually supportive. Making these similarities explicit provides a principled account of the way in which our knowledge-conducive cognitive characters may extend beyond our natural cognitive capacities by incorporating epistemic artifacts. (shrink)
According to the hypotheses of distributed and extendedcognition, remembering does not always occur entirely inside the brain but is often distributed across heterogeneous systems combining neural, bodily, social, and technological resources. These ideas have been intensely debated in philosophy, but the philosophical debate has often remained at some distance from relevant empirical research, while empirical memory research, in particular, has been somewhat slow to incorporate distributed/extended ideas. This situation, however, appears to be changing, as we witness (...) an increasing level of interaction between the philosophy and the empirical research. In this editorial, we provide a high-level historical overview of the development of the debates around the hypotheses of distributed and extendedcognition, as well as relevant theory and empirical research on memory, considering both the role of memory in theoretical debates around distributed/extended ideas and strands of memory research that resonate with those ideas; we emphasize recent trends towards increased interaction, including new empirical paradigms for investigating distributed memory systems. We then provide an overview of the special issue itself, drawing out a number of general implications from the contributions, and conclude by sketching promising directions for future research on distributed memory. (shrink)
The extended mind hypothesis (Clark and Chalmers in Analysis 58(1):7–19, 1998; Clark 2008) is an influential hypothesis in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. I argue that the extended mind hypothesis is born to be wild. It has undeniable and irrepressible tendencies of flouting grounding assumptions of the traditional information-processing paradigm. I present case-studies from social cognition which not only support the extended mind proposal but also bring out its inherent wildness. In particular, I focus on (...) cases of action-understanding and discuss the role of embodied intentionality in the extended mind project. I discuss two theories of action-understanding for exploring the support for the extended mind hypothesis in embodied intersubjective interaction, namely, simulation theory and a non-simulationist perceptual account. I argue that, if the extended mind adopts a simulation theory of action-understanding, it rejects representationalism. If it adopts a non-simulationist perceptual account of action-understanding, it rejects the classical sandwich view of the mind. (shrink)
A central finding in experimental research identified with Embodied Cognition (EC) is that understanding actions involves their embodied simulation, i.e. executing some processes involved in performing these actions. Extending these findings, I argue that reenactment – the overt embodied simulation of actions and practices, including especially communicative actions and practices, within utterances – makes it possible to forge an integrated EC-based account of linguistic meaning. In particular, I argue: (a) that remote entities can be referred to by reenacting actions (...) performed with them; (b) that the use of grammatical constructions can be conceived of as the reenactment of linguistic action routines; (c) that complex enunciational structures (reported speech, irony, etc.) involve a separate level of reenactment, on which characters are presented as interacting with one another within the utterance; (d) that the segmentation of long utterances into shorter units involves the reenactment of brief audience interventions between units; and (e) that the overall meaning of an utterance can be stated in reenactment terms. The notion of reenactment provides a conceptual framework for accounting for aspects of language that are usually thought to be outside the reach of EC in an EC framework, thus supporting a view of meaning and linguistic content as thoroughly grounded in action and interaction. (shrink)
There is a growing realization in cognitive science that a theory of embodied intersubjectivity is needed to better account for social cognition. We highlight some challenges that must be addressed by attempts to interpret ‘simulation theory’ in terms of embodiment, and argue for an alternative approach that integrates phenomenology and dynamical systems theory in a mutually informing manner. Instead of ‘simulation’ we put forward the concept of the ‘extended body’, an enactive and phenomenological notion that emphasizes the socially (...) mediated nature of embodiment. To illustrate the explanatory potential of this approach, we replicate an agent-based model of embodied social interaction. An analysis of the model demonstrates that the extended body can be explained in terms of mutual dynamical entanglement: inter-bodily resonance between individuals can give rise to self-sustaining interaction patterns that go beyond the behavioral capacities of isolated individuals by modulating their intra-bodily conditions of behavior generation. (shrink)
Recent social theory has departed from methodological individualism’s explanation of action according to the motives and dispositions of human individuals in favor of explanation in terms of broader agencies consisting of both human and nonhuman elements described as cyborgs, actor-networks, extended agencies, or distributed cognition. This paper proposes that moral responsibility for action also be vested in extended agencies. It advances a consequentialist view of responsibility that takes moral responsibility to be a species of causal responsibility, and (...) it answers objections that might be raised on the basis of intentions and deserts. (shrink)
According to the view that has become known as the extended mind , some token mental processes extend into the cognizing organism’s environment in that they are composed (partly) of manipulative, exploitative, and transformative operations performed by that subject on suitable environmental structures. Enactivist models understand mental processes as (partly) constituted by sensorimotor knowledge and by the organism’s ability to act, in appropriate ways, on environmental structures. Given the obvious similarities between the two views, it is both tempting and (...) common to regard them as essentially variations on the same theme. In this paper, I shall argue that the similarities between enactivist and extended models of cognition are relatively superficial, and the divergences are deeper than commonly thought. (shrink)
This paper explores some of the differences between the enactive approach in cognitive science and the extended mind thesis. We review the key enactive concepts of autonomy and sense-making . We then focus on the following issues: (1) the debate between internalism and externalism about cognitive processes; (2) the relation between cognition and emotion; (3) the status of the body; and (4) the difference between ‘incorporation’ and mere ‘extension’ in the body-mind-environment relation.
Theories of embodied cognition abound in the literature, but it is often unclear how to understand them. We offer several interpretations of embodiment, the most interesting being the thesis that mental representations in bodily formats (B-formats) have an important role in cognition. Potential B-formats include motoric, somatosensory, affective and interoceptive formats. The literature on mirroring and related phenomena provides support for a limited-scope version of embodied social cognition under the B-format interpretation. It is questionable, however, whether such (...) a thesis can be extended. We show the limits of embodiment in social cognition. (shrink)
This paper reformulates some of the questions raised by extended mind theorists from an enactive, life/mind continuity perspective. Because of its reliance on concepts such as autopoiesis, the enactive approach has been deemed internalist and thus incompatible with the extended mind hypothesis. This paper answers this criticism by showing (1) that the relation between organism and cogniser is not one of co-extension, (2) that cognition is a relational phenomenon and thereby has no location, and (3) that the (...) individuality of a cogniser is inevitably linked with the question of its autonomy, a question ignored by the extended mind hypothesis but for which the enactive approach proposes a precise, operational, albeit non-functionalist answer. The paper raises a pespective of embedded and intersecting forms of autonomous identity generation, some of which correspond to the canonical cases discussed in the extended mind literature, but on the whole of wider generality. In addressing these issues, this paper proposes unbiased, non-species specific definitions of cognition, agency and mediation, thus filling in gaps in the extended mind debates that have led to paradoxical situations and a problematic over-reliance on intutions about what counts as cognitive. (shrink)