One thing to note, before I continue, is that Adams and Aizawa give no indication of how we are supposed to make the distinction. An account of the difference between causation and constitution would be helpful here, but there is none forthcoming (see Hurley 2010, Ross and Ladyman 2010 for a critique along these lines).We tried to forestall this objection in The Bounds of Cognition. We wrote,
In a forthcoming paper, Hurley appears to demand that the critic of extended cognition explain what is meant by causation or coupling, on the one hand, versus constitution, supervenience, physical substrate, or embodiment, on the other. Yet, it is the advocates of extended cognition who have put the distinction on the table. As seen from the numerous quotations provided at the start of the chapter, there is good reason to think it is one of the defining features of the hypothesis of extended cognition. If the advocates of extended cognition want to rely on some distinction to present their view, surely they bear the burden of explicating their own view. Moreover, it is awkward to be a critic of extended cognition and have to explicate and defend a central distinction of extended cognition. (Adams & Aizawa, 2008, pp. 99-100).But, here is Menary invoking the causation/constitution distinction:
The real disagreement between internalists and integrationists is whether the manipulation of external vehicles constitutes a cognitive process. Integrationists think that they do, typically for reasons to do with the close coordination and causal interplay between internal and external processes. (Menary, 2006, p. 331).If Menary thinks that the manipulation of external vehicles constitutes a cognitive process, let him explain what constitution is. And, if he thinks that causal interplay between internal and external processes warrant the view that the manipulation of external vehicles constitutes a cognitive process, let him explain causation. It's not A&A's job to give him the tools to do his job (or better, to hand him the rope with which to hang himself).