Thursday, August 12, 2010

Menary(?) and Wheeler(?) Buy the Distinction between Causation and Constitution

Wheeler (chapter 11) argues that the extended mind is a kind of extended functionalism. Wheeler points out that the extended mind is not simply a weak claim about the causal dependence of some cognition on external factors (cf. Adams and Aizawa's coupling-constitution fallacy). It is a stronger claim involving the constitution of cognition, at least in part, by external factors. Therefore, the extended mind is not simply an embodied-embedded thesis that treats external props and tools as causally relevant features of the environment. It is a thesis that takes the bodily manipulation of external vehicles as constitutive of cognitive processes. (Menary, 2010, p. 21).
So, this pretty clearly buys into the causation/constitution distinction in order to make out the hypothesis of extended cognition.  So, as I noted earlier, pace Hurley, it seems to me that it is the job of the advocates of EC, not the critics, to explicate this distinction.

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