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<I>Res cogitans extensa</I>

Theiner, Georg

Res cogitans extensa

A Philosophical Defense of the Extended Mind Thesis

Series: Europäische Hochschulschriften / European University Studies / Publications Universitaires Européennes - Volume 744

Year of Publication: 2011

Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. XIV, 267 pp., num. fig. and tables
ISBN 978-3-631-57937-4 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.370 kg, 0.816 lbs

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Discipline

Book synopsis

For Descartes, minds were essentially immaterial, non-extended things. Contemporary cognitive science prides itself on having exorcised the Cartesian ghost from the biological machine. However, it remains committed to the Cartesian vision of the mental as something purely inner. Against the idea that the mind resides solely in the brain, advocates of the situated and embodied nature of cognition have long stressed the importance of dynamic brain-body-environment couplings, the opportunistic exploitation of bodily morphology, the strategic performance of epistemically potent actions, the generation and use of external representations, and the cognitive scaffolding provided by artifacts and social-cultural practices. According to the extended mind thesis, a significant portion of human cognition literally extends beyond the brain into the body and its environment. This book aims to clarify the nature and the scope of this thesis, and to defend its central insight that cognition is not confined to the boundaries of the biological individual.

Contents

Contents: Extending the Mind: Mortification or Empowerment? – A Primer on the Principle of Parity – Embodiment, Dynamicism, and Extended Cognition – Language and Writing as Technologies of the Mind – Extended Reasoning – Three Objections to the Extended Mind Rebutted – Hybrid Creatures.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Georg Theiner, born in Vienna, received his PhD in Philosophy, with a Joint PhD in Cognitive Science and a Minor in History and Philosophy of Science, at Indiana University, Bloomington in 2008. His research interests are in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. During his tenure as a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta, he worked on the extended mind thesis and socially distributed cognition.

Series

European University Studies. Series 20: Philosophy. Vol. 744