Extended life

Topoi 28 (1):9-21 (2009)

Authors
Ezequiel Di Paolo
University of the Basque Country
Abstract
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.
Keywords Extended mind  Enactive approach  Autonomy  Precariousness  Agency  Mediation  Individuation
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DOI 10.1007/s11245-008-9042-3
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References found in this work BETA

The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
Challenges to the Hypothesis of Extended Cognition.Robert D. Rupert - 2004 - Journal of Philosophy 101 (8):389-428.
Participatory Sense-Making.Hanne De Jaegher & Ezequiel Di Paolo - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (4):485-507.

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