Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Notes on Clark's Review 3

In my last post, I quoted Andy as saying
The issue concerning non-derived representations (Adams and Aizawa also speak here of non-derived contents) is complex (see Clark (2005) (2008) for discussion) but one point to notice is that such contents/representations are indeed present (assuming the idea is coherent, as I now think it is) in the putative overall cognizing system comprising bio-stuff and further resources.
After a number of exchanges on the topic of non-derived content, Andy now takes the idea to be coherent.  Note that Andy's view articulated above is a slight change from
First, though I shall not dwell upon this, it is unclear that there is any such thing as intrinsic content anyway. Second, in so far as the notion is intelligible at all, there is no reason to believe that external, non-biological structures are incapable of supporting such content. And third, even if they were incapable of so doing, this would not actually compromise the case for the extended mind.  The worry about intrinsic content, I conclude, is multiply fatally flawed. (Clark, 2005, p. 1).
Ironically, I must admit that I think there are challenges in providing a philosophically unproblematic account of the derived/non-derived distinction.  They have to do with cases of "derivation" that are similar to those to which Justin Fisher alludes in his review of The Bounds of Cognition. I think there is a derived/non-derived distinction, only as with so many other philosophical issues concerning characterization, there is a problem in getting the characterization exactly right.

Clark, A. (2005). "Intrinsic content, active memory, and the extended mind".  Analysis, 65, 1-11.

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