Friday, December 3, 2010

A&A vs Sutton, et al.

The empirical programs we describe below have their own momentum, independent of any connection with philosophical issues. In particular, we do not argue that the Desert Song case, or any of the other examples of collaborative recall which we discuss below, entails any particular view on whether cognition and memory are in fact often extended or distributed. Theorists can continue to treat each individual’s cognitive processes in isolation, as occurring solely within the head, even if causally triggered or cued by non-cognitive external input. (Sutton, Harris, Keil, & Barnier).
Sutton’s project, they say, ‘can be undertaken while leaving much of the cognitive psychology of memory as the study of processes that take place, essentially without exception, within nervous systems’ (2008, p.179). 
So, why do Sutton, et al., want to disagree with us?  We seem to be on the same page.

1 comment:

  1. Ken, it's taking context-free quotation to a new level to suggest that our sentence 'Theorists can continue to treat each individual’s cognitive processes in isolation ..' (by the way, the *can* is italicized in our text) describes a view we defend! Read the passage following that sentence! (p.3 of the draft at
    I don't have time for more extensive replies here now, but this underlines my worry about the blog as a locus of debate, if it encourages such isolated quotation.

    Although you now say that we *mis*interpret that passage from A&A p.179 as suggesting that my project implies 'a reversion to internalism', that (mis)interpretation is wholly encouraged by everything in the context surrounding the quotation (as we argue throughout the current paper, you neglect all the interesting positions between 'revolutionary' EC and wholly orthodox individualism). In contrast, all the text surrounding the passage you quote from us, and the entire spirit and explicit aim of our paper, makes it clear that we are not encouraging theorists to treat cognition as solely in the head (no more than we encourage theorists to treat cognition as solely outside the head).