Recent thinking within philosophy of mind about the ways cognition can extend has yet to be integrated with philosophical theories of emotion, which give cognition a central role. We carve out new ground at the intersection of these areas and, in doing so, defend what we call the extended emotion thesis: the claim that some emotions can extend beyond skin and skull to parts of the external world.
Our aim is to provide a topography of the relevant philosophical terrain with regard to the possible ways in which knowledge can be conceived of as extended. We begin by charting the different types of internalist and externalist proposals within epistemology, and we critically examine the different formulations of the epistemic internalism/externalism debate they lead to. Next, we turn to the internalism/externalism distinction within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In light of the above dividing lines, we then examine first (...) the extent to which content externalism is compatible with epistemic externalism; second, whether active externalism entails epistemic externalism; and third whether there are varieties of epistemic externalism that are better suited to accommodate active externalism. Finally, we examine whether the combination of epistemic and cognitive externalism is necessary for epistemology and we comment on the potential ramifications of this move for social epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
The ‘causal-constitution’ fallacy, the ‘cognitive bloat’ worry, and the persisting theoretical confusion about the fundamental difference between the hypotheses of embedded (HEMC) and extended (HEC) cognition are three interrelated worries, whose common point—and the problem they accentuate—is the lack of a principled criterion of constitution. Attempting to address the ‘causal-constitution’ fallacy, mathematically oriented philosophers of mind have previously suggested that the presence of non-linear relations between the inner and the outer contributions is sufficient for cognitive extension. The abstract idea of (...) non-linearity, however, can be easily misunderstood and has, in the past, led to incorrect and counterintuitive conclusions about what may count as part of one’s overall cognitive system. In order to prevent any further mistakes I revisit dynamical systems theory to study the nature of the continuous mutual interactions that give rise to the aforementioned non-linear relations. Moreover, focusing on these interactions will allow us to provide two distinct arguments in support of the ontological postulation of extended cognitive systems, as well as an objective criterion of constitution. Accordingly, I put forward a version of HEC that treats continuous mutual interactions (and the resultant non-linear relations) not just as sufficient but also as necessary for cognitive extension. Such a qualified version of HEC may exclude certain alleged cases of cognitive extension where the agent does not mutually interact with his artifacts (e.g., shopping lists and directory services), but it is immune both to the ‘causal-constitution’ fallacy and the ‘cognitive bloat’ worry, and it can be sharply distinguished from HEMC. (shrink)
Philosophy of mind and cognitive science have recently become increasingly receptive to the hypothesis of extended cognition, according to which external artifacts such as our laptops and smartphones can—under appropriate circumstances—feature as material realizers of a person's cognitive processes. We argue that, to the extent that the hypothesis of extended cognition is correct, our legal and ethical theorizing and practice must be updated by broadening our conception of personal assault so as to include intentional harm toward gadgets that have been (...) appropriately integrated. We next situate the theoretical case for extended personal assault within the context of some recent ethical and legal cases and close with critical discussion. (shrink)
Strange inversions occur when things work in ways that turn received wisdom upside down. Hume offered a strangely inverted story about causation, and Darwin, about apparent design. Dennett suggests that a strange inversion also occurs when we project our own reactive complexes outward, painting our world with elusive properties like cuteness, sweetness, blueness, sexiness, funniness, and more. Such properties strike us as experiential causes, but they are really effects—a kind of shorthand for whole sets of reactive dispositions rooted in the (...) nuts and bolts of human information processing. Understanding the nature and origins of that strange inversion, Dennett believes, is thus key to understanding the nature and origins of human experience itself. This paper examines this claim, paying special attention to recent formulations that link that strange inversion to the emerging vision of the brain as a Bayesian estimator, constantly seeking to predict the unfolding sensory barrage. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the postulation of irreducible, distributed cognitive systems is necessary for the successful explanatory practice of cognitive science and sociology. Towards this end, and with an eye specifically on the phenomenon of distributed cognition, the debate over reductionism versus emergence is examined from the perspective of Dynamical Systems Theory. The motivation for this novel approach is threefold. Firstly, DST is particularly popular amongst cognitive scientists who work on modelling collective behaviors. Secondly, DST (...) can deliver two distinct arguments in support of the claim that the presence of mutual interactions between group members necessitates the postulation of the corresponding group entity. Thirdly, DST can also provide a succinct understanding of the way group entities exert downward causation on their individual members. The outcome is a naturalist account of the emergent, and thereby irreducible, nature of distributed cognitive systems that avoids the reductionists’ threat of epiphenomenalism, while being well in line with materialism. (shrink)
Internalist approaches to epistemic justification are, though controversial, considered a live option in contemporary epistemology. Accordingly, if ‘active’ externalist approaches in the philosophy of mind—e.g. the extended cognition and extended mind theses—are _in principle_ incompatible with internalist approaches to justification in epistemology, then this will be an epistemological strike against, at least the _prima facie_ appeal of, active externalism. It is shown here however that, contrary to pretheoretical intuitions, neither the extended cognition _nor_ the extended mind theses are in principle (...) incompatible with two prominent versions of epistemic internalism—viz., accessibilism and mentalism. In fact, one possible diagnosis is that pretheoretical intuitions regarding the incompatibility of active externalism with epistemic internalism are symptomatic of a tacit yet incorrect identification of epistemic internalism with epistemic individualism. Thus, active externalism is not in principle incompatible with epistemic internalism per se and does not significantly restrict one’s options in epistemology. (shrink)
Extended Cognition examines the way in which features of a subject's cognitive environment can become constituent parts of the cognitive process itself. This volume explores the epistemological ramifications of this idea, bringing together academics from a variety of different areas, to investigate the very idea of an extended epistemology.
The possibility of extended cognition invites the possibility of extended knowledge. We examine what is minimally required for such forms of technologically extended knowledge to arise and whether existing and future technologies can allow for such forms of epistemic extension. Answering in the positive, we explore some of the ensuing transformations in the ethical obligations and personal rights of the resulting ‘new humans.’.
This volume explores the epistemology of distributed cognition, the idea that groups of people can generate cognitive systems that consist of all participating members. Can distributed cognitive systems generate knowledge in a similar way to individuals? If so, how does this kind of knowledge differ from normal, individual knowledge?
Philosophy of mind and cognitive science (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2010; Palermos 2014) have recently become increasingly receptive tothe hypothesis of extended cognition, according to which external artifacts such as our laptops and smartphones can—under appropriate circumstances—feature as material realisers of a person’s cognitive processes. We argue that, to the extent that the hypothesis of extended cognition is correct, our legal and ethical theorising and practice must be updated, by broadening our conception of personal assault so as to (...) include intentional harm towards gadgets that have been appropriately integrated. We next situate the theoretical case for extended personal assault within the context of some recent ethical and legal cases and close with some critical discussion. (shrink)
First, a theoretical background to the volume’s topic, extended epistemology, is provided by a brief outline of its cross-disciplinary theoretical lineage and some key themes. In particular, it is shown how and why the emergence of recent and more egalitarian thinking in the cognitive sciences about the nature of human cognizing and its bounds—viz., the so-called ‘extended cognition’ program, and the related idea of an ‘extended mind’—has important and interesting ramifications in epistemology. Second, an overview is provided of the papers (...) included as chapters in the volume. The sixteen contributions are divided into two categories: those that engage with foundational issues to do with extended epistemology, and those that pursue applications of extended epistemology to new areas of research. (shrink)
Within contemporary philosophy of mind, it is taken for granted that externalist accounts of meaning and mental content are, in principle, orthogonal to the matter of whether cognition itself is bound within the biological brain or whether it can constitutively include parts of the world. Accordingly, Clark and Chalmers (1998) distinguish these varieties of externalism as ‘passive’ and ‘active’ respectively. The aim here is to suggest that we should resist the received way of thinking about these dividing lines. With reference (...) to Brandom’s (1994; 2000; 2008) broad semantic inferentialism, we show that a theory of meaning can be at the same time a variety of active externalism. While we grant that supporters of other varieties of content externalism (e.g., Putnam 1975 and Burge 1986) can deny active externalism, this is not an option for semantic inferentialists: On this latter view, the role of the environment (both in its social and natural form) is not ‘passive’ in the sense assumed by the alternative approaches to content externalism. (shrink)
Two arguments against the compatibility of epistemic internalism and content externalism are considered. Both arguments are shown to fail, because they equivocate on the concept of justification involved in their premises. To spell out the involved equivocation, a distinction between subjective and objective justification is introduced, which can also be independently motivated on the basis of a wide range of thought experiments to be found in the mainstream literature on epistemology. The subjective/objective justification distinction is also ideally suited for providing (...) new insights with respect to central issues within epistemology, including the internalism/externalism debate and the New Evil Demon intuition. (shrink)
According to distributed virtue reliabilism (Palermos, 2020b), epistemic collaborations—such as Transactive Memory Systems and Scientific Research Teams—can be held epistemically responsible at the collective level. This raises the question of whether participants of epistemic collaborations are exempt from being held individually responsible. In response, this paper explores two possible ways in which attributions of individual responsibility may still be appropriate within epistemic collaborations: (I) Individuals can be held epistemically responsible for their individual shortcomings, but no amount of individual epistemic responsibility (...) can replace collective epistemic responsibility. (II) Even if it is denied that participants of epistemic collaborations can be held epistemically responsible at the individual level, they may be held structurally, perhaps morally, and even legally responsible at the individual level for breaking joint commitments necessary for the effective coordination of the epistemic collaboration. (shrink)