The Extended Mind: A Dynamical Systems Perspective

Abstract

Clark and Chalmers (2002) advance two hypotheses that both cognition and the mind extend into the environment. Both hypotheses are grounded in active externalism about mental content and the Parity Principle. Active externalism proposes that the external features of the environment in the present directly influence our mental contents and behavior. The Parity Principle states that a process or state in the environment is cognitive if it is functionally equivalent to a comparable intracranial cognitive process. This paper reviews two of the strongest replies to the hypotheses, namely that arguments for them commit the coupling-constitution fallacy and that the hypothesis of extended cognition is incompatible with any satisfactory criteria that distinguishes between cognitive and non-cognitive processes. This paper argues that a dynamical systems approach avoids both objections and offers a conceptual and methodological framework for an extended cognitive science. Lastly, an account of collective intentionality will be considered to show how groups of individuals can be the bearers of mental states.

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Andy Forceno
Temple University

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