The alleged coupling-constitution fallacy and the mature sciences

In Richard Menary (ed.), The Extended Mind. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press (2010)
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Abstract

This chapter discusses the plausibility of the criticism against the thesis that external factors causally influence cognition and that they are, consequently, partly constitutive of cognition. The discussion should not be taken as implicitly proposing that the opposite theory is true, although the works of Adams and Aizawa suggest that they are defending internalism. This can be attributed to the fact that systems are, by definition, bounded; one must make assumptions about systems in developing cognitive models. This chapter defends the position that metaphysical considerations should play no role in deciding how to model cognition. It further explains how there is no basis for a general fact of the matter about determining what is and what is not a cognitive system.

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James Ladyman
University of Bristol

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