Varieties of artifacts: Embodied, perceptual, cognitive, and affective

Topics in Cognitive Science (4):1-24 (2021)
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Abstract

The primary goal of this essay is to provide a comprehensive overview and analysis of the various relations between material artifacts and the embodied mind. A secondary goal of this essay is to identify some of the trends in the design and use of artifacts. First, based on their functional properties, I identify four categories of artifacts co-opted by the embodied mind, namely (1) embodied artifacts, (2) perceptual artifacts, (3) cognitive artifacts, and (4) affective artifacts. These categories can overlap and so some artifacts are members of more than one category. I also identify some of the techniques (or skills) we use when interacting with artifacts. Identifying these categories of artifacts and techniques allows us to map the landscape of relations between embodied minds and the artifactual world. Second, having identified categories of artifacts and techniques, this essay then outlines some of the trends in the design and use of artifacts, focussing on neuroprosthetics, brain-computer interfaces, and personalisation algorithms nudging their users towards particular epistemic paths of information consumption.

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Richard Heersmink
Tilburg University