Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 73–94

The artifactual mind: overcoming the ‘inside–outside’ dualism in the extended mind thesis and recognizing the technological dimension of cognition



This paper explains why Clark’s Extended Mind thesis is not capable of sufficiently grasping how and in what sense external objects and technical artifacts can become part of our human cognition. According to the author, this is because a pivotal distinction between inside and outside is preserved in the Extended Mind theorist’s account of the relation between the human organism and the world of external objects and artifacts, a distinction which they proclaim to have overcome. Inspired by Charles S. Peirce’s philosophy of mind, in particular, the author tries to find a way out of this ‘inside–outside’ fallacy. External objects, artifacts or processes should, according to him, not be conceived as inanimate and unintelligent matter utilised by a separately living, inner mental sphere that has set certain pre-established goals for itself. Mind has rather an artifactual character. It is not extended by an inner biological cognitive core but rather unfolds itself through objects and artifacts. Mind as such is, especially in our modern technological culture, shaped by virtue of and through technical artifacts. Recognizing this artifactual dimension of mind will, the author concludes, enable a more critical analysis of contemporary claims that ascribe certain original and irreducible features to thinking.


Extended mind thesis (EMT) Artifactual mind thesis (AMT) Inside–outside Introspection Technology Peirce 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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