Synthese 198 (7):6297-6328 (2019)

Konrad Werner
University of Warsaw
This paper aims to elucidate a kind of ignorance that is more fundamental than a momentary lack of information, but also not a kind of ignorance that is built into the subject’s cognitive apparatus such that the subject can’t do anything about it. The paper sets forth the notion of cognitive confinement, which is a contingent, yet relatively stable state of being structurally or systematically unable to gain information from an environment, determined by patterns of interaction between the subject and the world. In order to unpack the idea of cognitive confinement the paper discusses niche construction theory, and then, in greater detail, the notion of cognitive niche once proposed by John Tooby and Irven DeVore. Cognitive confinement is here imagined as a pathologized form of cognitive niche. This posit is substantiated by referring to a case that has come to the fore in recent years and raised debate around the world: the rise of so-called filter bubbles. They turn out to be instantiations of a more general phenomenon of cognitive confinement.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02464-7
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Intelligence Without Representation.Rodney A. Brooks - 1991 - Artificial Intelligence 47 (1--3):139-159.
The Language of Thought.J. A. Fodor - 1978 - Critica 10 (28):140-143.

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