Philosophical Topics 47 (2):205-231 (2019)

Joel Krueger
University of Exeter
Lucy Osler
University of Copenhagen
Philosophical work exploring the relation between cognition and the Internet is now an active area of research. Some adopt an externalist framework, arguing that the Internet should be seen as environmental scaffolding that drives and shapes cognition. However, despite growing interest in this topic, little attention has been paid to how the Internet influences our affective life — our moods, emotions, and our ability to regulate these and other feeling states. We argue that the Internet scaffolds not only cognition but also affect. Using various case studies, we consider some ways that we are increasingly dependent on our Internet-enabled “techno-social niches” to regulate the contours of our own affective life and participate in the affective lives of others. We argue further that, unlike many of the other environmental resources we use to regulate affect, the Internet has distinct properties that introduce new dimensions of complexity to these regulative processes. First, it is radically social in a way many of these other resources are not. Second, it is a radically distributed and decentralized resource; no one individual or agent is responsible for the Internet’s content or its affective impact on users. Accordingly, while the Internet can profoundly augment and enrich our affective life and deepen our connection with others, there is also a distinctive kind of affective precarity built into our online endeavors as well.
Keywords Emotions  Emotion regulation  The Internet  Extended mind  Niche construction
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2019
DOI 10.5840/philtopics201947223
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Minds: Extended or Scaffolded? [REVIEW]Kim Sterelny - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):465-481.
Extended Emotions.Joel Krueger & Thomas Szanto - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):863-878.
Scaffoldings of the Affective Mind.Giovanna Colombetti & Joel Krueger - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1157-1176.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Cognitive Ecology of the Internet.Paul Smart, Richard Heersmink & Robert Clowes - 2017 - In Stephen Cowley & Frederic Vallée-Tourangeau (eds.), Cognition Beyond the Brain: Computation, Interactivity and Human Artifice (2nd ed.). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. pp. 251-282.
What is so Bad About Internet Content Regulation?John Weckert - 2000 - Ethics and Information Technology 2 (2):105-111.
Four Phases of Internet Regulation.John Palfrey - 2010 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 77 (2):981-996.
Four Phases of Internet Regulation.John Palfrey - 2010 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 77 (3):981-996.
The Internet and Research: Explanation and Resources.David Allie - 1995 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 16 (4):339-368.
Extended Cognition and the Explosion of Knowledge.David Ludwig - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology (3):1-14.


Added to PP index

Total views
120 ( #90,480 of 2,455,387 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
39 ( #20,552 of 2,455,387 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes