Rupert’s Extended Cognition
Rob Rupert is widely recognized to be one of most significant critics of the hypothesis that, under certain conditions, cognitive processes extend from within the brain into the body and environment. According to Rupert, this hypothesis of extended cognition runs afoul of what he takes to be cognitive science’s fundamental explanatory construct, namely, “the persisting set of integrated capacities that contribute, distinctively and nontrivially, to the production of cognitive phenomena” (Rupert, 2009, p. 41). This is Rupert’s positive theory of what cognitive science is about. This paper argues that Rupert’s theory has three problems:
1. It endorses an objectionable form of operationalism,
2. It offers too weak a theory of cognitive processes and capacities, and
3. It offers too strong a theory of cognitive processes and capacities.