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Profile: Richard Heersmink (Macquarie University)
  1. A Virtue Epistemology of the Internet: Search Engines, Intellectual Virtues, and Education.Richard Heersmink - forthcoming - Social Epistemology.
    This paper applies a virtue epistemology approach to using the Internet, as to improve our information-seeking behaviours. Virtue epistemology focusses on the cognitive character of agents and is less concerned with the nature of truth and epistemic justification as compared to traditional analytic epistemology. Due to this focus on cognitive character and agency, it is a fruitful but underexplored approach to using the Internet in an epistemically desirable way. Thus, the central question in this paper is: How to use the (...)
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  2. Dimensions of Integration in Embedded and Extended Cognitive Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3):577-598.
    The complementary properties and functions of cognitive artifacts and other external resources are integrated into the human cognitive system to varying degrees. The goal of this paper is to develop some of the tools to conceptualize this complementary integration between agents and artifacts. It does so by proposing a multidimensional framework, including the dimensions of information flow, reliability, durability, trust, procedural transparency, informational transparency, individualization, and transformation. The proposed dimensions are all matters of degree and jointly they constitute a multidimensional (...)
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  3. The Cognitive Ecology of the Internet.Paul Smart, Richard Heersmink & Robert Clowes - 2017 - In Stephen Cowley & Frederic Vallée-Tourangeau (eds.), Cognition Beyond the Brain: Computation, Interactivity and Human Artifice (2nd ed.). Springer. pp. 251-282.
    In this chapter, we analyze the relationships between the Internet and its users in terms of situated cognition theory. We first argue that the Internet is a new kind of cognitive ecology, providing almost constant access to a vast amount of digital information that is increasingly more integrated into our cognitive routines. We then briefly introduce situated cognition theory and its species of embedded, embodied, extended, distributed and collective cognition. Having thus set the stage, we begin by taking an embedded (...)
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  4. A Taxonomy of Cognitive Artifacts: Function, Information, and Categories.Richard Heersmink - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):465-481.
    The goal of this paper is to develop a systematic taxonomy of cognitive artifacts, i.e., human-made, physical objects that functionally contribute to performing a cognitive task. First, I identify the target domain by conceptualizing the category of cognitive artifacts as a functional kind: a kind of artifact that is defined purely by its function. Next, on the basis of their informational properties, I develop a set of related subcategories in which cognitive artifacts with similar properties can be grouped. In this (...)
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  5.  76
    The Philosophy of Memory Technologies: Metaphysics, Knowledge, and Values.Richard Heersmink & J. Adam Carter - 2017 - Memory Studies:1-18.
    Memory technologies are cultural artifacts that scaffold, transform, and are interwoven with human biological memory systems. The goal of this article is to provide a systematic and integrative survey of their philosophical dimensions, including their metaphysical, epistemological and ethical dimensions, drawing together debates across the humanities, cognitive sciences, and social sciences. Metaphysical dimensions of memory technologies include their function, the nature of their informational properties, ways of classifying them, and their ontological status. Epistemological dimensions include the truth-conduciveness of external memory, (...)
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  6. Extended Mind and Cognitive Enhancement: Moral Aspects of Cognitive Artifacts.Richard Heersmink - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (1):17-32.
    This article connects philosophical debates about cognitive enhancement and situated cognition. It does so by focusing on moral aspects of enhancing our cognitive abilities with the aid of external artifacts. Such artifacts have important moral dimensions that are addressed neither by the cognitive enhancement debate nor situated cognition theory. In order to fill this gap in the literature, three moral aspects of cognitive artifacts are singled out: their consequences for brains, cognition, and culture; their moral status; and their relation to (...)
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  7. The Metaphysics of Cognitive Artifacts.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):78-93.
    This article looks at some of the metaphysical properties of cognitive artefacts. It first identifies and demarcates the target domain by conceptualizing this class of artefacts as a functional kind. Building on the work of Beth Preston, a pluralist notion of functional kind is developed, one that includes artefacts with proper functions and system functions. Those with proper functions have a history of cultural selection, whereas those with system functions are improvised uses of initially non-cognitive artefacts. Having identified the target (...)
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  8. The Internet, Cognitive Enhancement, and the Values of Cognition.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Minds and Machines 26 (4):389-407.
    This paper has two distinct but related goals: (1) to identify some of the potential consequences of the Internet for our cognitive abilities and (2) to suggest an approach to evaluate these consequences. I begin by outlining the Google effect, which (allegedly) shows that when we know information is available online, we put less effort into storing that information in the brain. Some argue that this strategy is adaptive because it frees up internal resources which can then be used for (...)
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  9.  32
    The Narrative Self, Distributed Memory, and Evocative Objects.Richard Heersmink - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    In this article, I outline various ways in which artifacts are interwoven with autobiographical memory systems and conceptualize what this implies for the self. I first sketch the narrative approach to the self, arguing that who we are as persons is essentially our (unfolding) life story, which, in turn, determines our present beliefs and desires, but also directs our future goals and actions. I then argue that our autobiographical memory is partly anchored in our embodied interactions with an ecology of (...)
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  10. Mind and Artifact: A Multidimensional Matrix for Exploring Cognition-Artifact Relations.Richard Heersmink - 2012 - In J. M. Bishop & Y. J. Erden (eds.), Proceedings of the 5th AISB Symposium on Computing and Philosophy (pp. 54-61).
    What are the possible varieties of cognition-artifact relations, and which dimensions are relevant for exploring these varieties? This question is answered in two steps. First, three levels of functional and informational integration between human agent and cognitive artifact are distinguished. These levels are based on the degree of interactivity and direction of information flow, and range from monocausal and bicausal relations to continuous reciprocal causation. In these levels there is a hierarchy of integrative processes in which there is an increasing (...)
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  11. Defending Extension Theory: A Response to Kiran and Verbeek.Richard Heersmink - 2011 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (1):121-128.
    In a recent publication in this journal, Asle Kiran and Peter-Paul Verbeek (hereafter K&V) argue that extension theory and the notion of trust it implies are flawed. In this commentary, I defend extension theory against their critique. I first briefly introduce extension theory, then reconstruct K&V’s five arguments against extension theory and demonstrate that four of their five arguments are misplaced.
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  12. Distributed Cognition and Distributed Morality: Agency, Artifacts and Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2017 - Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (2):431-448.
    There are various philosophical approaches and theories describing the intimate relation people have to artifacts. In this paper, I explore the relation between two such theories, namely distributed cognition and distributed morality theory. I point out a number of similarities and differences in these views regarding the ontological status they attribute to artifacts and the larger systems they are part of. Having evaluated and compared these views, I continue by focussing on the way cognitive artifacts are used in moral practice. (...)
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  13. Distributed Selves: Personal Identity and Extended Memory Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):3135–3151.
    This paper explores the implications of extended and distributed cognition theory for our notions of personal identity. On an extended and distributed approach to cognition, external information is under certain conditions constitutive of memory. On a narrative approach to personal identity, autobiographical memory is constitutive of our diachronic self. In this paper, I bring these two approaches together and argue that external information can be constitutive of one’s autobiographical memory and thus also of one’s diachronic self. To develop this claim, (...)
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  14. Bibliometric Mapping of Computer and Information Ethics.Richard Heersmink, Jeroen van den Hoven, Nees Jan van Eck & Jan van den Berg - 2011 - Ethics and Information Technology 13 (3):241-249.
    This paper presents the first bibliometric mapping analysis of the field of computer and information ethics (C&IE). It provides a map of the relations between 400 key terms in the field. This term map can be used to get an overview of concepts and topics in the field and to identify relations between information and communication technology concepts on the one hand and ethical concepts on the other hand. To produce the term map, a data set of over thousand articles (...)
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    The Metaphysics of Cognitive Artefacts.Richard Heersmink - unknown
    This article looks at some of the metaphysical properties of cognitive artefacts. It first identifies and demarcates the target domain by conceptualizing this class of artefacts as a functional kind. Building on the work of Beth Preston, a pluralist notion of functional kind is developed, one that includes artefacts with proper functions and system functions. Those with proper functions have a history of cultural selection, whereas those with system functions are improvised uses of initially non-cognitive artefacts. Having identified the target (...)
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  16.  50
    Embodied Tools, Cognitive Tools and Brain-Computer Interfaces.Richard Heersmink - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (1):207-219.
    In this paper I explore systematically the relationship between Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) and their human users from a phenomenological and cognitive perspective. First, I functionally decompose BCI systems and develop a typology in which I categorize BCI applications with similar functional properties into three categories, those with (1) motor, (2) virtual, and (3) linguistic applications. Second, developing and building on the notions of an embodied tool and cognitive tool, I analyze whether these distinct BCI applications can be seen as bodily (...)
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  17.  94
    The Cognitive Integration of Scientific Instruments: Information, Situated Cognition, and Scientific Practice.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (4):1-21.
    Researchers in the biological and biomedical sciences, particularly those working in laboratories, use a variety of artifacts to help them perform their cognitive tasks. This paper analyses the relationship between researchers and cognitive artifacts in terms of integration. It first distinguishes different categories of cognitive artifacts used in biological practice on the basis of their informational properties. This results in a novel classification of scientific instruments, conducive to an analysis of the cognitive interactions between researchers and artifacts. It then uses (...)
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  18. Epistemological and Phenomenological Issues in the Use of Brain-Computer Interfaces.Richard Heersmink - 2011 - In C. Ess & R. Hagengruber (eds.), Proceedings of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy 2011 (pp. 98-102). MV-Wissenschaft.
    Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are an emerging and converging technology that translates the brain activity of its user into command signals for external devices, ranging from motorized wheelchairs, robotic hands, environmental control systems, and computer applications. In this paper I functionally decompose BCI systems and categorize BCI applications with similar functional properties into three categories, those with (1) motor, (2) virtual, and (3) linguistic applications. I then analyse the relationship between these distinct BCI applications and their users from an epistemological and (...)
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  19. Issues, Concepts and Methods Relating to the Identification of the Ethics of Emerging ICTs.Bernd Stahl, Richard Heersmink, Philippe Goujon, Catherine Flick, Jeroen van den Hoven, Kutoma Wakunuma, Veikko Ikonen & Michael Rader - 2010 - Communications of the IIMA 10 (1):33-43.
    Ethical issues of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important because they can have significant effects on human liberty, happiness, their ability to lead a good life. They are also of functional interest because they can determine whether technologies are used and whether their positive potential can unfold. For these reasons policy makers are interested in finding out what these issues are and how they can be addressed. The best way of creating ICT policy that is sensitive to ethical issues (...)
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  20.  35
    Identifying the Ethics of Emerging Information and Communication Technologies: An Essay on Issues, Concepts and Method.Bernd Carsten Stahl, Richard Heersmink, Philippe Goujon, Catherine Flick, Jeroen van den Hoven, Kutoma Wakunuma, Veikko Ikonen & Michael Rader - 2010 - International Journal of Technoethics 1 (4):20-38.
    Ethical issues of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important because they can have significant effects on human liberty, happiness, and people’s ability to lead a good life. They are also of functional interest because they can determine whether technologies are used and whether their positive potential can unfold. For these reasons, policy makers are interested in finding out what these issues are and how they can be addressed. The best way of creating ICT policy that is sensitive to ethical (...)
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  21. Ghost in the Machine: A Philosophical Analysis of the Relationship Between Brain-Computer Interface Applications and Their Users.Richard Heersmink - 2009 - Dissertation, University of Twente.
    This Master’s thesis explores the relationship between Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) and their human users from a functional, epistemological and phenomenological perspective. The analysis has four steps. I start out with a technical description of BCI systems in which I conceptually analyze different types of BCI applications. This results in the development of a taxonomy of applications which is the point of departure for further philosophical analysis. Thereafter, I explore the functional relationship between BCI applications and their users. That is to (...)
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