Minds in the Metaverse: Extended Cognition Meets Mixed Reality

Philosophy and Technology 35 (4):1–29 (2022)
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Examples of extended cognition typically involve the use of technologically low-grade bio-external resources. The present paper describes a putative case of extended cognizing based around a technologically advanced mixed reality device, namely, the Microsoft HoloLens. The case is evaluated from the standpoint of a mechanistic perspective. In particular, it is suggested that a combination of organismic and extra-organismic resources form part of a common mechanism that realizes a bona fide cognitive routine. In addition to demonstrating how the theoretical resources of neo-mechanical philosophy might be used to evaluate extended cognitive systems, the present paper illustrates one of the ways in which mixed reality devices, virtual objects, and online computational routines might be incorporated into human cognitive processes. This, it is suggested, speaks to the recent interest in mixed/virtual reality technologies across a number of disciplines. It also introduces us to issues that cross-cut disparate fields of philosophical research, such as the philosophy of science and the philosophy of technology.

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Paul Smart
University of Southampton

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