Phenomenal transparency, cognitive extension, and predictive processing

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-23 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

I discuss Clark’s predictive processing/extended mind hybrid, diagnosing a problem: Clark’s hybrid suggests that, when we use them, we pay attention to mind-extending external resources. This clashes with a commonly accepted necessary condition of cognitive extension; namely, that mind-extending resources must be phenomenally transparent when used. I then propose a solution to this problem claiming that the phenomenal transparency condition should be rejected. To do so, I put forth a parity argument to the effect that phenomenal transparency cannot be a necessary condition on cognitive extension: roughly, since internal cognitive resources can fail to be transparent when used, by parity, external resources can fail to be phenomenally transparent too. Further, I argue that phenomenal transparency is not even a reliable indicator of cognitive extension; hence its absence should not be considered a problem for Clark’s extended mind-predictive processing hybrid. Lastly, I consider and allay a number of worries my proposal might raise, and conclude the paper.

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