Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 605-618

First online:

The holy grail of cognitivism: a response to Adams and Aizawa

  • Richard MenaryAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, The University of Wollongong Email author 

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Adams and Aizawa (2010b) define cognitivism as the processing of representations with underived content. In this paper, I respond to their use of this stipulative definition of cognition. I look at the plausibility of Adams and Aizawa’s cognitivism, taking into account that they have no criteria for cognitive representation and no naturalistic theory of content determination. This is a glaring hole in their cognitivism—which requires both a theory of representation and underived content to be successful. I also explain why my own position, cognitive integration, is not susceptible to the supposed causal-coupling fallacy. Finally, I look at the more interesting question of whether the distinction between derived and underived content is important for cognition. Given Adams and Aizawa’s concession that there is no difference in content between derived and underived representations (only a difference in how they get their content) I conclude that the distinction is not important and show that there is empirical research which does not respect the distinction.


Cognition Representation Content Cognitive integration Extended mind Distributed cognition