Do Sensorimotor Dynamics Extend the Conscious Mind?

Adaptive Behavior (forthcoming)
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Abstract

According to the extended conscious mind thesis (ECM), the physical basis of consciousness is not confined exclusively to the brain, but extends beyond it via sensorimotor dynamics. ECM is enjoying growing support among philosophers inspired by developments in enactive and embodied cognitive science. ECM has obvious parallels with the extended mind thesis (EM), according to which the physical basis of cognition is likewise not confined to the brain. However, EM’s originator and most prominent defender, Andy Clark, argues that EM theorists can and should reject ECM, and offers an alternative internalist account which admits a causal but non-constitutive role for sensorimotor dynamics. In this paper I examine how well this claim fits with some of the key commitments of EM, and the implications for the EM theorist who wishes to deny ECM. I argue that Clark’s position –ECM-rejecting EM –is untenable, and defend the ECM interpretation of sensorimotor dynamics.

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Ken Pepper
University of York

Citations of this work

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