Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Parsing the A&A Rhetoric

One does not have to insist that the hypothesis of intracranial processes of memory processing is a mere relic of an unexamined Cartesian prejudice. Instead one can  maintain, as we do, that there is a scientifically and philosophically motivated  reason to believe that there are psychological processes that are found in brains that are unlike processes that span brains, bodies, and environments. (2008, p.179)
This rhetoric is particularly puzzling from the point of view of a complementarity theorist, whose projects rest on analyzing such differences between coordinated internal and external processes. In characterizing Sutton’s work as ‘non-revolutionary’, then, Adams and Aizawa must be construing a truly ‘revolutionary’ form of extended cognition as the view that external resources always constitute psychological processes, and that thus memory processing, for example, is never intracranial: but this dramatically extremised view is not one that complementarity theorists, at least, have ever defended .
There are two claims that are up in the air: A) Cognitive processes are commonly realized by the brain, body, and world.  B) There are no intracranial cognitive processes.  A&A think both are false.  A) Sutton, et al., no longer seem to want to argue about this, dismissing the talk of where the mind "really" is.  B) is the "dramatically extremised view" that Sutton, et al., have not noticed has been advocated by many in the EC literature. That's what all the posts on revolutionary EC are about.  Maybe Wilson and Sutton have not made these claims, but plenty of others have.

N.B.: Rowlands vigorously protests that he does not deny, and never has denied, instances of purely intracranial cognition.   (See comments here.)  I still find what he has written on this more equivocal than he does, but that's the state of play.

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