This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.
The extended mind hypothesis (EMH) holds that the mind isn’t all in the head. While it is no doubt true that the majority of our cognitive processes are situated in our brains, this need not be the case. For example, when performing the cognitive act of remembering, I may rely entirely on the internal activation of particular neural networks, or I could rely on some external prompt or storage device to assist my internal neural network. According to some philosophers, the extension of cognitive processes into the external environment is what gives rise to the EMH. As Andy Clark puts it, we are all “natural born cyborgs” – agents whose minds are jointly constituted by biological and technological materials.
Some philosophers dispute the EMH. Two of the most vociferous critics are Fred Adams and Kenneth Aizawa. They take particular umbrage at Clark’s claim about the possibility of joint-constitution.… Read the rest