The Extended Mind. The Extended Mind (1998) by Andy Clark and David Chalmers What are the limits of the mind? Skin and skull? People and their tools? The world? Clark and Chalmer’s proposal -- active externalism An external tool can be part of active cognition
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The Extended Mind
The Extended Mind (1998)
by Andy Clark and David Chalmers
An external tool can be part of active cognition
Objects outside the head can contain some mental states of a subject.
A person’s mind can extend to bits of the world around him.
Andy Clark and David Chalmers
Consider three possibilities in playing a game like Tetris:
Mental rotation of pieces to see if they fit a slot
Pushing a button to make the computer rotate a piece to see if it fits
3)A brain implant that can be
mentally activated by the player
to rotate a piece to see if it fits
1 is a mental process. Is 3? Is 2?
Accessing the information in passively recorded in his notebook is like accessing the information passively recorded in his memory.
Chalmers and Clark argue that the information in Otto’s notebook is just like the information in Inge’s memory. They are both mental states. The notebook has become part of Otto’s mind.
Otto always keeps his notebook with him.
Otto always checks his notebook automatically when asked a question (or when wondering about a question) that relates to the information in his notebook
Otto trusts his notebook implicitly (just as much as Inge trusts her memory)
“If, as we confront some task, a part of the world functions as a process which, were it to go on in the head, we would have no hesitation in accepting as part of the cognitive process, then that part of the world is (for that time) part of the cognitive process.” (Clark and Chalmers (1998))
“Parity” means equality or equivalence.
Claim: an external device (e.g. notebook) can be an extension of a person’s mind, if the following conditions are met:
The external device is almost always accessible (e.g. Otto carries the notebook around with him)
The information is easy to access (e.g. easy to read)
The external device is almost always accessed in relevant situations (e.g. Otto always checks his notebook when thinking about the location of the museum)
Chalmers’ newer addition to thought experiment: iphone
Chalmers has an iphone that not only functions as memory storage, but also performs mental functions for him such as:
Leonard has anterograde amnesia – can’t make new memories
Relies on notes and tattoos to function as his memory
Does he then have new memories? Are his notes and/or his tattoos part of his mind?
Clark, Andy and Chalmers, David (1998), “The Extended Mind” in Analysis 58, 10-23, available at: http://consc.net/papers/extended.html
Clark, Andy, “Memento’s Revenge: The Extended Mind, Extended”, to appear in R. Menary (ed.) Papers on the Extended Mind, available at: http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/people/clark/pubs/Mementosrevenge2.pdf