Andy Clark's book Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension is being published by Oxford University Press later this year. Among other things, this book fleshes out and defends the ideas put forward in our joint 1998 article "The Extended Mind". It includes a comprehensive (and I think largely compelling) set of replies to the various objections to the extended mind thesis that have been raised over the last decade, and also has a lot on applications of the extended mind idea within cognitive science.
I've written a foreword to the book, which I've just put online. The foreword will also form the basis for my talk in the Barwise Prize session at the Pacific APA meeting later this week. Of course this short piece doesn't go into remotely the depth of Andy's book, but it gives some elements of my current take on the extended mind thesis, ten years after publication of the original article. March 16, 2008 in Books Permalink Comments (4) TrackBack (0)
This is the thesis of the extended mind: when parts of the environment are coupled to the brain in the right way, they become parts of the mind. The thesis has a long history: I am told that there are hints of it in Dewey, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein. But no-one has done as much to give life to the idea as Andy Clark. In a series of important books and articles—Being There, Natural-Born Cyborgs, "Magic words: How language augments human computation", and many others—he has explored the many ways in which the boundaries between mind and world are far more flexible than one might have thought. This book is his major statement of the philosophical picture that undergirds the view.