Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For Sutton, et al. HEC vs. HEMC is not at Issue (Mostly)

Placing different cases within such a multidimensional framework is a more fruitful empirical project than continuing to debate whether cognition or memory is ‘really’ extended or ‘merely’ embedded.  (Sutton, et al.)
So, here, HEC versus HEMC seems to be dismissed or downplayed.
Assessing these two distinct lines of thought, Clark saw the complementarity between heterogeneous inner and outer resources as grounding ‘the more interesting and plausible argument’:
The argument for the extended mind thus turns primarily on the way disparate inner and outer components may co-operate so as to yield integrated larger systems capable of supporting various (often quite advanced) forms of adaptive success. The external factors and operations, in this model, are most unlikely to be computationally identical to the ones supported directly in the wetware ... (Clark 1998, p.99)
(Sutton, et al.)
But, here Sutton, et al., seem to be citing Clark, with approval, as holding the view that complementarity leads to HEC.  Maybe Sutton, et al., don't care to fight over HEC versus HEMC, but I am assuming that Clark did and was supporting HEC.
Yet, as we’ve noted, some common objections to parity- or functionalism-based extended cognition do not apply to complementarity-based extended cognition: in turn, the latter view may face different challenges of its own. Complementarity therefore deserves fuller and independent exploration if we want to evaluate the overall case for extended cognition. One tack for such constructive exploration involves detailed application of complementarity considerations to the key domain of memory, and this is the driving aim of the research program we describe in the second half of this paper. First we need to examine responses to complementarity.   (Sutton, et al.)
Now, in the first passage, Sutton, et al., suggest that they are not going to engage the HEC versus HEMC issue, but then in the second they cite with approval Clark's apparent efforts to argue for HEC by way of complementarity.  Then in the third, they suggest that this is a complementarity argument for EC, which I'm guessing is HEC.

It doesn't matter that much to me which road Sutton, et al. want to take, i.e. whether they want to engage HEC versus HEMC or not, but what I care about is that a) complementarity does not seem to support HEC and b) complementarity does not rule out intracranial cognition.  And, in an exchange over at Gary's blog, John seems to agree with me on this. 

And, I think John and I also agree that the study of the complementary relations between brain and body and environment are ok.

So, I'm not sure that I have that much in the way of substantive disagreements with Sutton, et al.

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