Synthese

, Volume 177, Issue 2, pp 285–300 | Cite as

Cognitive extension: the parity argument, functionalism, and the mark of the cognitive

Article

Abstract

During the past decade, the so-called “hypothesis of cognitive extension,” according to which the material vehicles of some cognitive processes are spatially distributed over the brain and the extracranial parts of the body and the world, has received lots of attention, both favourable and unfavourable. The debate has largely focussed on three related issues: (1) the role of parity considerations, (2) the role of functionalism, and (3) the importance of a mark of the cognitive. This paper critically assesses these issues and their interconnections. Section 1 provides a brief introduction. Section 2 argues that some of the most prominent objections against the appeal to parity considerations fail. Section 3 shows that such considerations are nevertheless unsuitable as an argument for cognitive extension. First, the actual argumentative burden is carried by an underlying commitment to functionalism, not by the parity considerations themselves. Second, in the absence of an independently motivated mark of the cognitive, the argument based on parity considerations does not get off the ground, but given such a mark, it is superfluous. Section 4 argues that a similar dilemma arises for the attempt to defend cognitive extension by a general appeal to functionalism. Unless it can be independently settled what it is for a process to be cognitive, functionalism itself will be undermined by the possibility of cognitive extension. Like parity considerations, functionalism is thus either unable to support cognitive extension or superfluous. Hence, nothing short of the specification of an appropriate mark of the cognitive that can be fulfilled not only by intracranial but also by extended processes will do as an argument for cognitive extension.

Keywords

Extended mind Extended cognition Functionalism Parity principle Mark of the cognitive Cognition 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams F., Aizawa K. (2001) The bounds of cognition. Philosophical Psychology 14: 43–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams F., Aizawa K. (2008) The bounds of cognition. Blackwell, Malden, MAGoogle Scholar
  3. Block N. (1978) Troubles with functionalism. In: Savage W. (eds) Perception and cognition: Issues in the foundation of psychology. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 261–325Google Scholar
  4. Clark A. (2003) Natural-born cyborgs: Minds, technologies, and the future of human intelligence. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Clark A. (2008) Supersizing the mind: Embodiment, action, and cognitive extension. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark A. (2010) Memento’s revenge: The extended mind, extended. In: Menary R. (eds) The extended mind. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 43–66Google Scholar
  7. Clark A., Chalmers D. (1998) The extended mind. Analysis 58: 7–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coleman, S. (in press). There is no argument that the mind extends. Journal of Philosophy.Google Scholar
  9. Dennett D. (1991) Consciousness explained. Little Brown, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  10. Di Paolo E. (2009) Extended life. Topoi 28: 9–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hurley S. (1998) Consciousness in action. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  12. Luria A. (1968) The mind of a mnemonist: A little book about a vast memory. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  13. Noë A. (2004) Action in perception. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  14. Rowlands M. (2009) Extended cognition and the mark of the cognitive. Philosophical Psychology 22: 1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rupert R. (2004) Challenges to the hypothesis of extended cognition. Journal of Philosophy 101: 389–428Google Scholar
  16. Rupert R. (2009) Cognitive systems and the extended mind. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Searle J. (1982) The myth of the computer: An exchange. New York Review of Books 29: 56–57Google Scholar
  18. Shapiro L. (2008) Functionalism and mental boundaries. Cognitive Systems Research 9: 5–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sprevak M. (2010) Functionalism and extended cognition. Journal of Philosophy 106: 503–527Google Scholar
  20. Walter, S., & Kästner, L. (in press) The where and what of cognition: The untenability 3 of cognitive agnosticism and the limits of the Motley Crew argument. Cognitive Systems Research.Google Scholar
  21. Walter, S., & Kyselo, M. (in press). Belief integration in action: A defense of extended beliefs. Philosophical Psychology.Google Scholar
  22. Weiskopf D. (2008) Patrolling the mind’s boundaries. Erkenntnis 68: 265–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wheeler M. (2005) Reconstructing the cognitive world: The next step. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  24. Wheeler M. (2010a) In defense of extended functionalism. In: Menary R. (eds) The extended mind. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 245–270Google Scholar
  25. Wheeler M. (2010b) Minds, things, and materiality. In: Malafouris L., Renfrew C. (eds) The cognitive life of things: Recasting the boundaries of the mind.. McDonald Institute Monographs, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  26. Wheeler, M. (manuscript). Extended X. Recarving the biological and cognitive joints of nature.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

Personalised recommendations