, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 107-133
Date: 26 Jan 2013

The Cognitive Integration of E-Memory

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Abstract

If we are flexible, hybrid and unfinished creatures that tend to incorporate or at least employ technological artefacts in our cognitive lives, then the sort of technological regime we live under should shape the kinds of minds we possess and the sorts of beings we are. E-Memory consists in digital systems and services we use to record, store and access digital memory traces to augment, re-use or replace organismic systems of memory. I consider the various advantages of extended and embedded approaches to cognition in making sense of E-Memory and some of the problems that debate can engender. I also explore how the different approaches imply different answers to questions such as: does our use of internet technology imply the diminishment of ourselves and our cognitive abilities? Whether or not our technologies can become actual parts of our minds, they may still influence our cognitive profile. I suggest E-Memory systems have four factors: totality, practical cognitive incorporability, autonomy and entanglement which conjointly have a novel incorporation profile and hence afford some novel cognitive possibilities. I find that thanks to the properties of totality and incorporability we can expect an increasing reliance on E-Memory. Yet the potentially highly entangled and autonomous nature of these technologie pose questions about whether they should really be counted as proper parts of our minds.