, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 47-51

Richard Menary (ed): The Extended Mind

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The Extended Mind (EM) thesis is that minds and cognitive processes can include objects, systems and processes outside the cranium. Current philosophic interest stems largely from a provocative 1998 paper by Andy Clark and David Chalmers, “The Extended Mind”. They propose a “parity principle”: a part of the world is part of a cognitive process if it “functions as a process which, if were it done in the head, we would have no hesitation in recognizing [it] as part of the cognitive process…. Cognitive processes ain’t (all) in the head!” (p. 29, orginal emphasis).

This proposal is parallel in spirit to Turing’s claim 60 years ago that if a machine exhibits behavior that would count as intelligent (cognitive) if performed by a human, we should count the machine and its performance as intelligent. Both proposals seek to overcome prejudice and liberalize attribution of mental predicates. Clark and Chalmers are in effect proposing that our brains are often part of larger hybrid cognitive syste