In this paper, I address one recent objection to Andy Clark and David Chalmers’s functionalist argument for the extended mind thesis. This objection is posed by Kengo Miyazono, who claims that they unjustifiably identify the original cognitive subject with the hybrid one in order to reach their conclusion about the mind extension. His attack consists of three steps: distinguishing hybrid from traditional cognitive subjects based on the systems reply originally directed at Searle’s Chinese room argument; pointing out that the conclusion (...) of the functionalist argument for EM must be rephrased to state that there are hybrid, and not extended, systems with widely realized mental states; and arguing that functionalist EM cannot justify the assumption about the identity of these two kinds of subjects without circularity. I argue that Miyazono’s main argument is ill-founded but that it, nevertheless, points out one important issue, namely, that we need further justification of the identity assumption, without which EM loses much of its flavor. Thus, I am going to challenge Miyazono’s argument, provide a reinterpretation of the argumentation in the EM debate, defend the possibility of wide and extended selves, and offer a justification of the identity assumption, which I find crucial not only for vindicating EM but also for differentiating EM from other similar theses, such as the thesis about group minds. (shrink)
In “Global Knowledge Frameworks and the Tasks of Cross-Cultural Philosophy,” Leigh Jenco searches for the conception of knowledge that best justifies the judgment that one can learn from non-local traditions of philosophy. Jenco considers four conceptions of knowledge, namely, in catchwords, the esoteric, Enlightenment, hermeneutic, and self- transformative conceptions of knowledge, and she defends the latter as more plausible than the former three. In this critical discussion of Jenco’s article, I provide reason to doubt the self-transformative conception, and also advance (...) a fifth, pluralist conception of knowledge that I contend best explains the prospect of learning from traditions other than one’s own. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to clarify the content of the concept “person” as it figures in philosophical debates about personhood and personal identity. In order to do so, I will look at both specific philosophical problems that ask for a clear definition of this notion, as well as at the history of this concept’s formation, and try to motivate the specific assumptions that are tightly connected to it.
This paper aims to offer a new view of the role of connectionist models in the study of human cognition through the conceptualization of the history of connectionism – from the simplest perceptrons to convolutional neural nets based on deep learning techniques, as well as through the interpretation of criticism coming from symbolic cognitive science. Namely, the connectionist approach in cognitive science was the target of sharp criticism from the symbolists, which on several occasions caused its marginalization and almost complete (...) abandonment of its assumptions in the study of cognition. Criticisms have mostly pointed to its explanatory inadequacy as a theory of cognition or to its biological implausibility as a theory of implementation, and critics often focused on specific shortcomings of some connectionist models and argued that they apply to connectionism in general. In this paper, we want to show that both types of critique are based on the assumption that the only valid explanations in cognitive science are instances of homuncular functionalism and that by removing this assumption and by adopting an alternative methodology – exploratory mechanistic strategy, we can reject most objections to connectionism as irrelevant, explain the progress of connectionist models despite their shortcomings and sketch the trajectory of their future development. By adopting mechanistic explanations and by criticizing functionalism, we will reject the objections of explanatory inadequacy, by characterizing connectionist models as generic rather than concrete mechanisms, we will reject the objections of biological implausibility, and by attributing the exploratory character to connectionist models we will show that practice of generalizing current to general failures of connectionism is unjustified. (shrink)
In this paper I aim to offer one novel perspective on the effects of physical and social isolation on an individual in the period of COVID-19 pandemic. Namely, we can distinguish two standard approaches to studying such effects: psychological, which strives to identify emergence and effects of new external stressors on an individual, and legal and ethical, which evaluates justification and correctness of certain public strategies designed to combat the pandemic that jeopardize human rights, such as the right to freedom (...) of movement. The novel perspective, offered in this paper, should not replace any of these approaches, instead it will provide some amendments to them by putting in place a new theoretical framework. The focus of the paper will be on justifying two major assumptions of this novel approach – the assumption that individuals as cognitive systems and selves sometimes extend into the environment, and the assumption that this environment can be social, i.e. that individuals sometimes extend on cognitive resources of other people. If these assumptions can be well founded, some psychological effects of isolation could be reconceptualized as instances of the internal transformations of an individual who loses some of her parts. Also, adopting the view that individuals are socially extended cognitive systems would lead to recognizing novel legal and ethical issues with respect to forced social isolation – endangerment of personal rights pertaining to personal integrity and identity. (shrink)
The hypothesis of the Extended Cognition (ExCog), formulated by Clark and Chalmers (1998), aims to be a bold and new hypothesis about realisers of cognitive processes. It claims that sometimes cognitive processes extend above the limits of the skin and skull and include chunks of the environment as their partial realisers. One of the most pursuasive arguments in support of this assertion is the famous “parity argument” which calls upon functional similarities between extended cognitive processes and relevant internal processes. This (...) very kind of reasoning gave rise to several arguments against ExCog by way of comparing it to functionalism about the mental, which conclude that ExCog must be trivial, radical or unjustified. In this paper ExCog and the underlying parity principle will be defended against four different kinds of “functionalist” arguments. It will be argued that ExCog can be justified as a special form of functionalism, that it is not trivial nor entailed by the known versions of functionalism, and that the accusation of it being too radical is unwarranted. (shrink)