Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wilson's Premise (e)

In an earlier post, I did register the kind of objection one should probably explore against Wilson's premise (e), namely, that external cognitive resources do not often play the same or similar functional roles in the detection and creation of meaning as do internal cognitive resources.  I also noted some apparent shift of position between Wilson's statement of the premise and the accompanying text that would appear to be commentary.

Wilson adds this to his defense of (e) on the next page
Third, even those happy to make both of these concessions might well think that the final premise, (e), is indefensible, since there will always remain a crucial asymmetry between internal and external cognitive resources. Roughly speaking, the latter only gain purchase on cognitive activity via the former, and so internal resources remain fundamental to cognition in a way that vitiates the inference to externalism. (Wilson, 2010, p. 176).
Here I think that Rupert, Adams, and Aizawa have been pretty consistent in admitting that extended cognition is possible, hence that we do not maintain that there will always be a crucial asymmetry between internal and external resources.  Maybe there are other critics of EC who have maintained this.  The Rupert, Adams, and Aizawa view, at any rate, is that there will typically be an asymmetry.  (But, really, Adams and I don't really talk about this asymmetry kind of stuff anyway.  That's Rupert's, and others', spiel.)


  1. Ken,

    I am interested in reading Wilson's paper, could you cite the full reference? Or tell me where you found it?

  2. Sure. It's "Meaning making and the mind of the externalist" In Richard Menary's edited book, The Extended Mind, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (pp. 167-188).