Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sutton's Reply to K&F

John Sutton (in conversation) has objected to us that developmental arguments of the kind we’ve been developing are powerless to establish synchronic here and now extended cognition as opposed to intracranial, embedded cognition of the kind Adams and Aizawa favour.   Cognitive dovetailing of the kind we’ve been arguing for doesn’t address the casual-constitution conflation charge that is often levelled against the EMT. According to this objection EMT is guilty of mistaking a perhaps necessary causal contribution from the environment for the claim that environmentally located elements have cognitive status.  Maybe we’ve shown that the environment makes a necessary contribution to cognition, but we haven’t shown that this contribution is cognitive. 
Spot on it seems to me.
We are grateful to Sutton for pressing this worry but doesn’t the thought behind it rest on something like Adams and Aizawa’s distinction between extended cognition and extended cognitive systems?  It seems to require us to concede that an externally located component can be a part of an extended cognitive system, perhaps because of developmental considerations of the kind we’ve sketched above, without this component being counted as cognitive.  We’ve attempted to address this objection above.
Yes, the attempt was the part about cooling needing more than just the evaporation coil.  And, that reply does not work.

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