Dissertation, Indiana University (2008)

Authors
Georg Theiner
Villanova University
Abstract
In my dissertation, I explore the remarkable talent of human beings to modify and co-opt resources of their material and socio-cultural environment, and integrate them with their biological capacities in order to enhance their cognitive prowess. In the first part, I clarify and defend the claim – known as the extended mind thesis – that a significant portion of human cognition literally extends beyond the head into the world, actively incorporating our bodies and an intricate web of material resources (Clark, 2003, 2008; Wilson, 2004). Yet since much of distinctively human cognition occurs when we think in groups, I argue that the bias of this thesis to view cognition as an essentially solitary (albeit bodily or technologically extended) activity is misplaced. In the second part, I re-deploy the idea of cognitive extensions to establish a scientifically respectable version of the group mind thesis – i.e., the claim that groups can have emergent cognitive properties and capacities in their own right.
Keywords extended mind  group mind  externalism
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Ten Questions Concerning Extended Cognition.Robert A. Wilson - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (1):19-33.
Collective Behavior.Robert L. Goldstone & Todd M. Gureckis - 2009 - Topics in Cognitive Science 1 (3):412-438.
Is Distributed Cognition Group Level Cognition?Kirk Ludwig - 2015 - Journal of Social Ontology 1 (2):189-224.
Group Minds as Extended Minds.Keith Raymond Harris - 2020 - Philosophical Explorations 23 (3):1-17.

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