Friday, August 13, 2010

"Defending the Bounds of Cognition" Revisited 1

Fred and I wrote this paper a long time ago now (September of 2003, I think), so it was interesting to reread it.  Although I think I still agree with all the principal points, there are a few tweaks worth noting in blog posts.

First a boring a side story.  The paper begins,
Question: Why did the pencil think that 2 + 2 = 4?
Clark's answer: Because it was coupled to the mathematician. 
Fred made me tone it down (I used to be a lot worse than I am now) and take out, among other things,
Question: Why did the pencil think that multinational corporations are the greatest threat to world democracy?
Answer: Because it was coupled to Noam Chomsky.
Much has been made of the idea that it is not the pencil alone that is supposed to be cognitive but instead the "person + pencil + paper" system.  Ok.  But, that really doesn't help.  The point is that cognitive processing does not extend just in virtue of causal coupling.

Defending the Bounds of Cognition (with Fred Adams).  (2010) In Menary, R., (Ed.). The Extended Mind, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.  (pp.  67-89).

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