Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rowlands buys non-derived content

I earlier mentioned how Mark Rowlands embraces a "mark of the cognitive approach" to adjudicated matters regarding extended cognition.  In fact, here is his account:
A process P is a cognitive process if and only if:
(1) P involves information processing—the manipulation and transformation of
information-bearing structures.
(2) This information processing has the proper function of making available either to the subject or to subsequent processing operations information that was
(or would have been) prior to (or without) this processing, unavailable.
(3) This information is made available by way of the production, in the subject
of P, of a representational state.
(4) P is a process that belongs to the subject of that representational state.  (Rowlands, 2009, p. 8)
Then, regarding (3) he writes,
I shall assume that the type of representational state invoked in (3) is one that
possesses non-derived content. Derived content is content, possessed by a given state, that derives from the content of other representational states of a cognizing subject or from the social conventions that constitute that agent’s linguistic milieu. Non-derived content is content that does not so derive. A form of content being nonderived is not equivalent to its being sui generis: non-derived content can, for example, derived from, and be explained in terms of, the history or informational carrying profile of the state that has it. It is what content is derived from that is crucial. Non-derived content is content that is not derived from other content – it is not content that is irreducible or sui generis.  (pp. 9-10).
So, where Adams and Aizawa have been non-committal regarding what theory of non-derived content to invoke, Rowlands take the plunge.

Rowlands, M. (2009). Extended cognition and the mark of the cognitive. Philosophical Psychology, 22(1), 1-19

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