Publication 6677

Kiverstein J. (2018) Extended cognition. In: Newen A., de Bruin L. & Gallagher S. (eds.) The Oxford handbook of 4E cognition. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 19–40. Fulltext at
Excerpt: 4E cognitive science is a broad church housing a number of theoretical perspectives that to varying degrees conflict with each other (Shapiro 2010). In this chapter I will argue that the debates within 4E cognitive science surrounding extended cognition boil down to competing ontological conceptions of cognitive processes. The embedded theory (henceforth EMT) and the family of extended theories of cognition (henceforth EXT) disagree about what it is for a state or process to count as cognitive. EMT holds that cognitive processes are deeply dependent on bodily interactions with the environment in ways that more traditionally minded cognitive scientists might find surprising. The strong dependence of some cognitive processes on bodily engagements with the world notwithstanding, EMT claims that cognitive processes are nevertheless wholly realized by systems and mechanisms located inside of the brain. Thus advocates of EMT continue to interpret the concept of cognition along more or less traditional lines (Adams and Aizawa 2008; Rupert 2009). That is to say, they think of cognitive processes as being constituted by computational, rule-based operations carried out on internal representational structures that carry information about the world.

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