Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 377–397 | Cite as

The extended mind: born to be wild? A lesson from action-understanding



The extended mind hypothesis (Clark and Chalmers in Analysis 58(1):7–19, 1998; Clark 2008) is an influential hypothesis in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. I argue that the extended mind hypothesis is born to be wild. It has undeniable and irrepressible tendencies of flouting grounding assumptions of the traditional information-processing paradigm. I present case-studies from social cognition which not only support the extended mind proposal but also bring out its inherent wildness. In particular, I focus on cases of action-understanding and discuss the role of embodied intentionality in the extended mind project. I discuss two theories of action-understanding for exploring the support for the extended mind hypothesis in embodied intersubjective interaction, namely, simulation theory and a non-simulationist perceptual account. I argue that, if the extended mind adopts a simulation theory of action-understanding, it rejects representationalism. If it adopts a non-simulationist perceptual account of action-understanding, it rejects the classical sandwich view of the mind.


Extended mind Action-understanding Simulation theory Non-simulationist perceptual theory Embodied intersubjectivity Representationalism Dynamical systems Perception Action Social cognition 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Subjectivity ResearchUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen SDenmark

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