Betere Dingen

| 06-06-2009 18:03Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension

Andy Clark (2008)
Wikipedia: author

Andy Clark describes and defends his hypothesis of extended cognition in this book. This hypothesis sort of states that parts of cognitive processes can loop out of the brain, into the body or even into the world. This goes further than embodied cognition, but is completely compatible with the 'strange loop' view of Douglas Hofstadter. I am really convinced that minds are situated in bodies and worlds, but find it hard to swallow that when cognition is not a pure mathematical machine, but rather a mish-mash collection of efficient modules/loops that lean heavily on bodily and worldly properties, that the conscious experience of sensing and thinking with that mind (and body, and world) is not affected at all. And precisely this is proposed at the end of the book. Even if one does not agree with the hypothesis, the book brings together some classic and pretty recent neuroscience work and robotics and AI, which is inspiring in itself. So this book is not all pure philosophy (as in only thought-experiments and no real experiments) but there was one sentence where I though: "Ooo, here the philisopher is getting serious!" This was: "Now imagine a concrete case..."

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