Friday, March 26, 2010

Does Cognitivism Beg the EC Question? II

It is, of course, true that many advocates of extended cognition reject cognitivism.  See, for example, Haugeland (1999), Thompson (2007), Wallace (2007), and Gomila and Calvo (2008).  Yet, the fact that there is this disagreement does not mean that an appeal to cognitivism in making a case against extended cognition begs the question against extended cognition.  One begs the question when one assumes, without argument, what one is trying to prove.  But, cognitivism isn’t assumed without argument in Bounds.  The case for cognitivism lies in its success in explaining various features of cognition.   Were the mere existence of different views of P sufficient to guarantee that one side or the other is begging the question, then every debate would have to involve begging the question.

Gomila, T., and Calvo, P. (2008).  Directions for an embodied cognitive science: Toward an integrated approach.  In Calvo, P., and Gomila, T., Handbook of Cognitive Science: An Embodied Approach.  San Diego, CA: Elsevier. (pp. 1-25).
Haugeland, J. (1998).  Mind embodied and embedded.  In Haugeland, J. (Ed.).  Having Thought.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (pp. 207-237)
Thompson, E. (2007). Life in Mind.  Harvard University Press.
Wallace, B. (2007).  Introduction to The Mind, the Body, and the World: Psychology after Cognitivism?  Exeter, United Kingdom: Imprint Academic. (pp. 1-29).


  1. If cognitivism is understood as computational functionalism, then just the existence of Wilson's notion of wide computation and some articulations of Clark's extended functionalism seem to provide ample proof that cognitivism doesn't beg the question against EC.

  2. I think you are right about that. But, I have been surprised to find that several folks have thought that cognitivism begs the question against EC.