An important question in the debate over embodied, enactive, and extended cognition has been what has been meant by “cognition”. What is this cognition that is supposed to be embodied, enactive, or extended? Rather than undertake a frontal assault on this question, however, this paper will take a different approach. In particular, we may ask how cognition is supposed to be related to behavior. First, we could ask whether cognition is supposed to be behavior. Second, we could ask whether we (...) should attempt to understand cognitive processes in terms of antecedently understood cognitive behaviors. This paper will survey some of the answers that have been given in the embodied, enactive, and extended cognition literature, then suggest reasons to believe that we should answer both questions in the negative. (shrink)
Within contemporary philosophy of mind, it is taken for granted that externalist accounts of meaning and mental content are, in principle, orthogonal to the matter of whether cognition itself is bound within the biological brain or whether it can constitutively include parts of the world. Accordingly, Clark and Chalmers :7–19, 1998) distinguish these varieties of externalism as ‘passive’ and ‘active’ respectively. The aim here is to suggest that we should resist the received way of thinking about these dividing lines. With (...) reference to Brandom’s broad semantic inferentialism, we show that a theory of meaning can be at the same time a variety of active externalism. While we grant that supporters of other varieties of content externalism can deny active externalism, this is not an option for semantic inferentialists: On this latter view, the role of the environment is not ‘passive’ in the sense assumed by the alternative approaches to content externalism. (shrink)
This paper examines the application of the mutual manipulability criterion as a way to demarcate constituents of cognitive systems from resources having a mere causal influence on cognitive systems. In particular, it is argued that on at least one interpretation of the mutual manipulability criterion, the criterion is inadequate because the criterion is conceptualized as identifying synchronic dependence between higher and lower ‘levels’ in mechanisms. It is argued that there is a second articulation of the mutual manipulability criterion available, and (...) that it should be preferred for at least two reasons. The first is that the criterion of mutual manipulability is an instance of continuous reciprocal causation. The second is that it has implications for how to understand this distinction between causation and constitution. It is shown that when considering dynamic systems, continuous reciprocal causation - ubiquitous in dynamical systems - is a form of constitutive causality, which entails that causal factors may, in the right circumstances, by genuine constitutive factors of cognition. This notion of constitutive causality lends support to conceiving of the mutual manipulability criterion as a genuine demarcation principle in the debate over the boundaries of mind. (shrink)
The cross-disciplinary framework of Material Engagement Theory (MET) has emerged as a novel research program that flexibly spans archeology, anthropology, philosophy, and cognitive science. True to its slogan to ‘take material culture seriously’, “MET wants to change our understanding of what minds are and what they are made of by changing what we know about what things are and what they do for the mind” (Malafouris 2013, 141). By tracing out more clearly the conceptual contours of ‘material engagement,’ and firming (...) up its ontological commitments, the main goal of this article is to help refine Malafouris’ fertile approach. In particular, we argue for a rapprochement between MET and the tradition of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, based on the ‘Vygotskian’ hypothesis of scaffolded and/or distributed cognition. (shrink)
The philosophical case for extended cognition is often made with reference to ‘extended-memory cases’ ; though, unfortunately, proponents of the hypothesis of extended cognition as well as their adversaries have failed to appreciate the kinds of epistemological problems extended-memory cases pose for mainstream thinking in the epistemology of memory. It is time to give these problems a closer look. Our plan is as follows: in §1, we argue that an epistemological theory remains compatible with HEC only if its epistemic assessments (...) do not violate what we call ‘the epistemic parity principle’. In §2, we show how the constraint of respecting the epistemic parity principle stands in what appears to be a prima facie intractable tension with mainstream thinking about cases of propositional memory. We then outline and evaluate in §3 several lines of response. (shrink)
According to reductive intellectualists about knowledge-how :147–190, 2008; Philos Phenomenol Res 78:439–467, 2009) knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. To the extent that this is right, then insofar as we might conceive of ways knowledge could be extended with reference to active externalist :7–19, 1998; Clark in Supersizing the mind: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008) approaches in the philosophy of mind, we should expect no interesting difference between the two. However, (...) insofar as anti-intellectualist approaches to knowledge-how are a viable option, there is an overlooked issue of how knowledge-how might be extended, via active externalism, in ways very differently from knowledge-that. This paper explores this overlooked space, and in doing so, illustrates how a novel form of extended knowledge-how emerges from a pairing of active externalism in the philosophy of mind with anti-intellectualism in the theory of knowledge. Crucial to our argument will be a new way of thinking about the extended mind thesis, as it pertains to the kinds of state one is in when one knows how to do something, and how this state connects with non-accidentally successful performance. (shrink)
Recent thinking within philosophy of mind about the ways cognition can extend has yet to be integrated with philosophical theories of emotion, which give cognition a central role. We carve out new ground at the intersection of these areas and, in doing so, defend what we call the extended emotion thesis: the claim that some emotions can extend beyond skin and skull to parts of the external world.
Philosophy of mind and cognitive science have recently become increasingly receptive to the hypothesis of extended cognition, according to which external artifacts such as our laptops and smartphones can—under appropriate circumstances—feature as material realizers of a person's cognitive processes. We argue that, to the extent that the hypothesis of extended cognition is correct, our legal and ethical theorizing and practice must be updated by broadening our conception of personal assault so as to include intentional harm toward gadgets that have been (...) appropriately integrated. We next situate the theoretical case for extended personal assault within the context of some recent ethical and legal cases and close with critical discussion. (shrink)
This paper addresses several objections that have been leveled against a behavioral approach to psychological categories. It reconstructs and critically assesses the so-called causal objection; alleged counterexamples whereby one can exhibit the typical behaviors associated with a psychological phenomenon without exhibiting the latter, including Lewis’ “perfect actor” case and Kirk’s “zombie”; alleged counterexamples whereby organisms can exemplify psychological phenomena without exhibiting any behavior associated with them, including Armstrong’s imagined brain in a vat, Putnam’s “super-super-spartans” scenario, and related cases; and the (...) holistic objection. Mistaken assumptions in each of these objections are pinpointed. The paper starts with a brief characterization of behaviorism about psychological categories and a summary of the particular version thereof supported here, which draws upon Ryle and Skinner, among others. (shrink)
In this paper, I will focus on the extension theories of technology. I will identify four influential positions that have been put forward: (1) technology as an extension of the human organism, (2) technology as an extension of the lived body and the senses, (3) technology as an extension of our intentions and desires, and (4) technology as an extension of our faculties and capabilities. I will describe and critically assess these positions one by one and highlight their advantages and (...) their shortcomings and limitations. Along the way, I will explicate some of the differences and similarities between the various approaches. I conclude the paper with some suggestions for future research directions that will be beneficial for advancing theory building and that will drive forward the philosophical refinement of extension theory. (shrink)
Many cognitive scientists have recently championed the thesis that cognition is embodied. In principle, explicating this thesis should be relatively simple. There are, essentially, only two concepts involved: cognition and embodiment. After articulating what will here be meant by ‘embodiment’, this paper will draw attention to cases in which some advocates of embodied cognition apparently do not mean by ‘cognition’ what has typically been meant by ‘cognition’. Some advocates apparently mean to use ‘cognition’ not as a term for one, among (...) many, causes of behavior, but for what has more often been called “behavior.” Some consequences for this proposal are considered. (shrink)
This paper explains why Clark’s Extended Mind thesis is not capable of sufficiently grasping how and in what sense external objects and technical artifacts can become part of our human cognition. According to the author, this is because a pivotal distinction between inside and outside is preserved in the Extended Mind theorist’s account of the relation between the human organism and the world of external objects and artifacts, a distinction which they proclaim to have overcome. Inspired by Charles S. Peirce’s (...) philosophy of mind, in particular, the author tries to find a way out of this ‘inside–outside’ fallacy. External objects, artifacts or processes should, according to him, not be conceived as inanimate and unintelligent matter utilised by a separately living, inner mental sphere that has set certain pre-established goals for itself. Mind has rather an artifactual character. It is not extended by an inner biological cognitive core but rather unfolds itself through objects and artifacts. Mind as such is, especially in our modern technological culture, shaped by virtue of and through technical artifacts. Recognizing this artifactual dimension of mind will, the author concludes, enable a more critical analysis of contemporary claims that ascribe certain original and irreducible features to thinking. (shrink)
Philosophical accounts of the constitution relation have been explicated in terms of synchronic relations between higher- and lower-level entities. Such accounts, I argue, are temporally austere or impoverished, and are consequently unable to make sense of the diachronic and dynamic character of constitution in dynamical systems generally and dynamically extended cognitive processes in particular. In this paper, my target domain is extended cognition based on insights from nonlinear dynamics. Contrariwise to the mainstream literature in both analytical metaphysics and extended cognition, (...) I develop a nonstandard, alternative conception of constitution, which I call “diachronic process constitution”. It will be argued that only a diachronic and dynamical conception of constitution is consistent with the nature of constitution in distributed cognitive processes. (shrink)
Combining active externalism in the form of the extended and distributed cognition hypotheses with virtue reliabilism can provide the long sought after link between mainstream epistemology and philosophy of science. Specifically, by reading virtue reliabilism along the lines suggested by the hypothesis of extended cognition, we can account for scientific knowledge produced on the basis of both hardware and software scientific artifacts. Additionally, by bringing the distributed cognition hypothesis within the picture, we can introduce the notion of epistemic group agents, (...) in order to further account for collective knowledge produced on the basis of scientific research teams. (shrink)
The paper starts out by distinguishing two closely related hypotheses about extended cognition. According to the strong hypothesis, there are no intrinsic representations in the brain. This is a version of the extended-mind view defended by Andy Clark and Richard Menary. On the weak hypothesis, there are intrinsic representations in the brain but some types of cognition, knowledge or memory are constituted by particular types of external devices or environmental factors that extend beyond the skull and perhaps beyond the skin. (...) This type of view was defended, for example, by Andy Clark and David Chalmers. After drawing this distinction and clarifying the notions of causal influence and constitution, I defend the second weaker hypothesis with respect to procedural knowledge and knowledge of action and show why this sort of view supports what we might call a ‘situationist-friendly virtue epistemology’. (shrink)
Our aim is to provide a topography of the relevant philosophical terrain with regard to the possible ways in which knowledge can be conceived of as extended. We begin by charting the different types of internalist and externalist proposals within epistemology, and we critically examine the different formulations of the epistemic internalism/externalism debate they lead to. Next, we turn to the internalism/externalism distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In light of the above dividing lines, we then examine first (...) the extent to which content externalism is compatible with epistemic externalism; second, whether active externalism entails epistemic externalism; and third whether there are varieties of epistemic externalism that are better suited to accommodate active externalism. Finally, we examine whether the combination of epistemic and cognitive externalism is necessary for epistemology and we comment on the potential ramifications of this move for social epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
This paper explores several paths by which the extended cognition 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)
Expertise is extended by becoming immersed in cultural practices. We look at an example of mathematical expertise in which immersion in cognitive practices results in the transformation of expert performance.
How should one attribute epistemic credit to an agent, and hence, knowledge, when cognitive processes include an extensive use of human or mechanical enhancers, informational tools, and devices which allow one to complement or modify one's own cognitive system? The concept of integration of a cognitive system has been used to address this question. For true belief to be creditable to a person's ability, it is claimed, the relevant informational processes must be or become part of the cognitive character of (...) the agent, as a result of a process of enculturation. We argue that this view does not capture the role of sensitivity to epistemic norms in forming true beliefs. An analysis of epistemic actions, basic and extended, is proposed as offering an appropriate framework for crediting an agent with knowledge. (shrink)
The emerging consensus in the philosophy of cognition is that cognition is situated, i.e., dependent upon or co-constituted by the body, the environment, and/or the embodied interaction with it. But what about emotions? If the brain alone cannot do much thinking, can the brain alone do some emoting? If not, what else is needed? Do (some) emotions (sometimes) cross an individual's boundary? If so, what kinds of supra-individual systems can be bearers of affective states, and why? And does that make (...) emotions ?embedded? or ?extended? in the sense cognition is said to be embedded and extended? Section 2 shows why it is important to understand in which sense body, environment, and our embodied interaction with the world contribute to our affective life. Section 3 introduces some key concepts of the debate about situated cognition. Section 4 draws attention to an important disanalogy between cognition and emotion with regard to the role of the body. Section 5 shows under which conditions a contribution by the environment results in non-trivial cases of ?embedded? emotions. Section 6 is concerned with affective phenomena that seem to cross the organismic boundaries of an individual, in particular with the idea that emotions are ?extended? or ?distributed.? (shrink)
Throughout much of the modern period, the human mind has been regarded as a property of the brain and therefore something confined to the inside of the head—a view commonly known as ‘internalism’. But recent works in cognitive science, philosophy, and anthropology, as well as certain trends in the development of technology, suggest an emerging view of the mind as a process not confined to the brain but spread through the body and world—an outlook covered by a family of views (...) labelled ‘externalism’. In this paper, we will suggest there is now sufficient momentum in favour of externalism of various kinds to mark a historical shift in the way the mind is understood. We dub this emerging externalist tendency the ‘New Mind’. Key properties of the New Mind will be summarised and some of its implications considered in areas such as art and culture, technology, and the science of consciousness. (shrink)
According to the hypotheses of distributed and extended cognition, 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 extended cognition, 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)
This paper evaluates the Natural-Kinds Argument for cognitive extension, which purports to show that the kinds presupposed by our best cognitive science have instances external to human organism. Various interpretations of the argument are articulated and evaluated, using the overarching categories of memory and cognition as test cases. Particular emphasis is placed on criteria for the scientific legitimacy of generic kinds, that is, kinds characterized in very broad terms rather than in terms of their fine-grained causal roles. Given the current (...) state of cognitive science, I conclude that we have no reason to think memory or cognition are generic natural kinds that can ground an argument for cognitive extension. (shrink)
This paper engages the extended cognition 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 “Extended cognition 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)
In order to account for how organisms can apprehend the contents of the external representations they manipulate in cognizing, the endorsement of representationalism fosters a situation of what I call cognitive overdetermination. I argue that this situation is problematic for the inclusion of these external representations in cognitive processing, as the hypothesis of extended cognition would like to have it. Since that situation arises from a commitment to representationalism (even minimal), it only affects the viability of representationalist versions of extended (...) cognition. (shrink)
This paper explores several paths a distinctive third wave of extended cognition might take. In so doing, I address a couple of shortcomings of first- and second-wave extended cognition 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)
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)
The Hypothesis of Extended Cognition holds that the mind need not be constrained within biological boundaries. However, conditions must be provided to set a principled outer limit on cognitive extension, or implausibly many cases will be implicated. I argue that, for the case of extended beliefs at least, such conditions must pay attention to a mental state's causal history, in addition to its current functional poise. Extended resources can house an individual's beliefs, I propose, only if she has taken responsibility (...) for their sources in a suitable way. (shrink)
The hypothesis of extended cognition holds that mental states and processes need not be wholly contained within biological confines. Yet the theory is plausible, and informative, only when it can set principled outer limits upon cognitive extension: it should not permit unrestricted expansion of the mental into the material environment. I argue that true cognitive extension occurs only when the subject takes responsibility for the contribution made by a non-neural resource, in a manner that can be illuminated by appeal to (...) theoretical resources from contemporary virtue epistemology. (shrink)
The question whether cognition is subserved by internal processes in the brain (internalism) or extends in to the world (active externalism) has been vigorously debated in recent years. I show how internalist and externalist ideas can be pursued in a common framework, using (1) open dynamical systems, which allow for separate analysis of an agent's intrinsic and embodied dynamics, and (2) supervenience functions, which can be used to study how low-level dynamical systems give rise to higher-level dynamical structures.
The hypothesis of extended cognition (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)
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 extended cognition 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)
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 extended cognition (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)
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 extended cognition.
The Hypothesis of Extended Cognition (HEC)—that many cognitive processes are carried out by a hybrid coalition of neural, bodily and environmental factors—entails that the intentional states that are reasons for action might best be ascribed to wider entities of which individual persons are only parts. I look at different kinds of extended cognition and agency, exploring their consequences for concerns about the moral agency and personal responsibility of such extended entities. Can extended entities be moral agents and bear responsibility for (...) actions, in addition to or in place of the individuals typically held responsible? What does it mean to be autonomous when one’s cognition is influenced and supported by a milieu of environmental factors? To answer these questions, I explore strong parallels between HEC’s critique of individualism in cognition, and feminist critiques of individualist accounts of self, agency, and autonomy. This relational and social conception of autonomous agency, as scaffolded and supported (or undermined and impaired) by a milieu of social, relational, and normative factors, has important lessons for HEC. Drawing together these two visions of distributed and decentralized aspects of personhood highlights how cognition, action, and responsibility are inextricably linked. It also encourages a reconceptualization of all cognition and all concerns about responsibility for actions, not simply as sometimes extended around individuals, but as fundamentally communal, social, and normative, with individual cognition and individual moral responsibility being derivative special cases, not the paradigm examples. Individuals are merely one of many possible loci of cognition, action, and responsibility. (shrink)
In their papers for this issue, Sterelny and Sutton provide a dimensional analysis of some of the ways in which mental and cognitive activities take place in the world. I add two further dimensions, a dimension of manipulation and of transformation. I also discuss the explanatory dimensions that we might use to explain these cases.
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)
This paper explores the ramifications of the extended cognition 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 extended cognition thesis. There is thus, surprisingly, a straightforward way of developing our current thinking about (...) knowledge such that it incorporates the extended cognition thesis. (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 extended cognition 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 extended cognition 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)
Sensory substitution devices provide through an unusual sensory modality (the substituting modality, e.g., audition) access to features of the world that are normally accessed through another sensory modality (the substituted modality, e.g., vision). In this article, we address the question of which sensory modality the acquired perception belongs to. We have recourse to the four traditional criteria that have been used to define sensory modalities: sensory organ, stimuli, properties, and qualitative experience (Grice, 1962), to which we have added the criteria (...) of behavioral equivalence (Morgan, 1977), dedication (Keeley, 2002), and sensorimotor equivalence (O’Regan & Noe¨, 2001). We discuss which of them are fulfilled by perception through sensory substitution devices and whether this favors the view that perception belongs to the substituting or to the substituted modality. Though the application of a number of criteria might be taken to point to the conclusion that perception with a sensory substitution device belongs to the substituted modality, we argue that the evidence leads to an alternative view on sensory substitution. According to this view, the experience after sensory substitution is a transformation, extension, or augmentation of our perceptual capacities, rather than being something equivalent or reducible to an already existing sensory modality. We develop this view by comparing sensory substitution devices to other ‘‘mind-enhancing tools’’ such as pen and paper, sketchpads, or calculators. An analysis of sensory substitution in terms of mind-enhancing tools unveils it as a thoroughly transforming perceptual experience and as giving rise to a novel form of perceptual interaction with the environment. (shrink)
Naturalistic philosophers ought to think that the mind is continuous with the rest of the world and should not, therefore, be surprised by the findings of the extended mind, cognitive integration and enactivism. Not everyone is convinced that all mental phenomena are continuous with the rest of the world. For example, intentionality is often formulated in a way that makes the mind discontinuous with the rest of the world. This is a consequence of Brentano’s formulation of intentionality, I suggest, and (...) can be overcome by revealing that the concept of intentional directedness as he receives it from the Scholastics is quite consistent with the continuity thesis. It is only when intentional directedness is conjoined with intentional inexistence that intentionality and content are consistent with a discontinuity thesis (such as Brentano’s thesis). This makes room to develop an account of intentional directedness that is consistent with the continuity thesis in the form of Peirce’s representational principle. I also argue against a form of the discontinuity thesis in the guise of the derived/underived content distinction. Having shown that intentionality is consistent with the continuity thesis I argue that we should focus on intentionality and representation as bodily enacted. I conclude that we would be better off focussing on representation and intentionality in action rather than giving abstract functional accounts of extended cognition. (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)
The extended mind is the thesis that some mental—typically cognitive—processes are partly composed of operations performed by cognizing organisms on the world around them. The operations in question are ones of manipulation, transformation, or exploitation of environmental structures. And the structures in question are ones that carry information pertinent to the success or efficacy of the cognitive process in question. This essay examines the thesis of the extended mind and evaluates the arguments for and against it.