LIS and BCIs: a Local, Pluralist, and Pragmatist Approach to 4E Cognition

Neuroethics 9 (2):187-198 (2016)
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Abstract

Four previous papers in this journal have discussed the role of Brain-Computer Interfaces in the lives of Locked-In Syndrome patients in terms of the four “E” frameworks for cognition – extended, embedded, embodied, and enactive cognition. This paper argues that in the light of more recent literature on these 4E frameworks, none of the four papers has taken quite the right approach to deciding which, if any, of the E frameworks is the best one for the job. More specifically, I argue for an approach that is pragmatist rather than purely metaphysical, pluralist rather than monist, and perhaps most importantly, local to particular research programmes, rather than about BCIs in general. The paper will outline this approach, then illustrate it with reference to a particular research programme which tackles the issue of BCI communication for patients in Complete Locked-In Syndrome.

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