Book Chapter

A Tale of Two Dilemmas: Cognitive Kinds and the Extended Mind



Wheeler M (2015) A Tale of Two Dilemmas: Cognitive Kinds and the Extended Mind. In: Kendig C (ed.) Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice. History and Philosophy of Biology. London: Routledge, pp. 175-185.

First paragraph: Most work in cognitive science and naturalistic philosophy of mind is unashamedly internalist in outlook, in at least the following sense: the parts of the physical world where psychological states occur and where psychological processes happen are held to be located entirely inside the head. One’s first reaction to this sort of internalism about the mind might well be that it must be right. Indeed, given all those wonderful ‘pictures of the brain thinking’ that have been delivered over the past few years by contemporary neuroimaging techniques, where else could the material machinery of mind be? Enter the hypothesis of extended cognition (henceforth ExC). If ExC is true, there are actual (in this world) cases of intelligent thought and action, in which the material machinery that realizes the thinking and thoughts concerned is spatially distributed over brain, body and world, in such a way that the external (beyond-the-skull-and-skin) factors concerned are rightly accorded cognitive status. Here, ‘cognitive status’ is just a place-holder for ‘whatever status it is that we standardly grant the brain when explaining intelligent thought and action’.

Title of seriesHistory and Philosophy of Biology
Publication date03/12/2015
Publisher URL…ok/9781848935402
Place of publicationLondon

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Professor Michael Wheeler

Professor Michael Wheeler

Professor, Philosophy