Extended cognition and functionalism

2009   Journal of Philosophy, 106: 503–527

Last updated 14 October 2009

Andy Clark and David Chalmers argue that the mind sometimes extends outside the body to encompass features of the environment (HEC). HEC has been criticised by Fred Adams, Kenneth Aizawa, and Robert Rupert. In this paper, the author argues for two claims: (1) HEC is a harder target than those critics have supposed; HEC is entailed by functionalism, a commonly held view in philosophy of mind, and one to which those critics are already committed. (2) The version of HEC entailed by functionalism is more radical than the version that Clark and Chalmers suggest. The author argues that this version of HEC is so radical as to form a counterexample to functionalism. The conclusion of the paper is against both HEC and functionalism.

Abstract:

Andy Clark and David Chalmers argue that the mind sometimes extends outside the body to encompass features of the environment (HEC). HEC has been criticised by Fred Adams, Kenneth Aizawa, and Robert Rupert. In this paper, the author argues for two claims: (1) HEC is a harder target than those critics have supposed; HEC is entailed by functionalism, a commonly held view in philosophy of mind, and one to which those critics are already committed. (2) The version of HEC entailed by functionalism is more radical than the version that Clark and Chalmers suggest. The author argues that this version of HEC is so radical as to form a counterexample to functionalism. The conclusion of the paper is against both HEC and functionalism.

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