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Presentation on theme: "The Extended Mind. THE ASYMMETRIC DEPENDENCE THEORY."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Extended Mind


3 Horses Dont Cause Horse Horse! Causes Depends

4 C.O.A.D.N. Dont Cause Horse! Horse! Causes Does Not Depend

5 Asymmetric Dependence Theory Concept C represents property P in virtue of the fact that (i)Things with P cause C (ii)Things without P that also cause C only cause C because things with P cause C, and not vice versa.

6 Asymmetric Dependence Theory The concept Horse! represents the property of being a horse in virtue of the fact that (i)Horses cause Horse! (ii)Non-horses that also cause Horse! only cause Horse! because horses cause Horse!, and not vice versa.

7 Robustness Causes Why doesnt pepper mean pepper-or-salt?

8 Proximal Stimuli Why doesnt dog mean dog-or-doggy-image? Causes

9 Proximal Stimuli Causes Bark!

10 Hit on the Head with a Hammer Theres one objection that Fodor cannot answer however. I call it the hit on the head with a hammer objection. Suppose theres a particular part of your head where, if I hit it, you will think of a penguin.

11 Hammer Objection Causes


13 Functional Types A functional type is a type of something that performs a certain task, does a particular job, or plays a certain role. Any object that performs that task, does that job, or plays that role is a token of that type.

14 Example: Pain For example, the job of pain seems to be (1) to register bodily damage and (2) to cause aversion to the source of the damage. So the functionalist might say: any state (not just human brain states) that performs these jobs is a pain state

15 Example: Beliefs and Desires

16 Functionalism StimulusResponse Other Mental States

17 StimulusResponse Other Mental States

18 The Extended Mind Thesis Some states outside of the human brain count as human mental states. Some processes outside of the human brain count as human mental processes.

19 Epistemic Actions Ordinary actions work like this: We want the world to be a certain way. We take an action that makes the world that way, or an action that is a precondition for such an action.

20 Epistemic Actions Sometimes, however, we take an epistemic action. This is where we change the world in order to find out how to act. Its like a mental simulation, but real.

21 Arranging Scrabble Tiles

22 Content Internalism Internalism about content says that content supervenes on mental representations: Theres no change in what a mental representation represents without a change in the representation itself.

23 Example: Idea Theory For example, the idea of a dog couldnt represent a cat unless you changed the idea itself so it resembled a cat.

24 Content Externalism Externalism about content, however, says that content does not supervene on mental representations: There can be a difference in content with no difference in whats in the head.

25 Example: Causal Theories According to a causal theory, our mental representations represent what causes them.

26 Example: Causal Theories Therefore, if you change what causes them, without changing the representations, they represent something new.

27 Clark & Chalmers argue for a different sort of externalism that they call active externalism.

28 Objection from Consciousness Mental processes are conscious, but nothing outside the head is. Reply: Lots of mental processes recognized by cognitive science are unconscious– like language processing.

29 Objection from Portability Mental processes are portable in a special sort of way. You can remove my scrabble tiles, but its hard to remove the mental representations of those tiles in my mind.

30 Objection from Portability Reply: this still allows for treating counting on your fingers as a mental process. And theres reason to think that in the future, other external processes will be coupled to us by implantation.

31 Objection Objection: OK, so Ill count rotating tetris shapes, arranging scrabble tiles, and counting on your fingers as mental processes. But you cant convince me that there are mental states outside the head. Beliefs and desires, for example, are always internal.




35 Otto vs. Inga Inga hears from a friend that there is an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and decides to go see it. She thinks for a moment and recalls that the museum is on 53rd Street, so she walks to 53rd Street and goes into the museum. It seems clear that Inga believes that the museum is on 53rd Street, and that she believed this even before she consulted her memory.

36 Otto vs. Inga Otto suffers from Alzheimers disease, and like many Alzheimers patients, he relies on information in the environment to help structure his life. Otto carries a notebook around with him everywhere he goes. When he learns new information, he writes it down. When he needs some old information, he looks it up. For Otto, his notebook plays the role usually played by a biological memory.

37 Otto vs. Inga Today, Otto hears about the exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and decides to go see it. He consults the notebook, which says that the museum is on 53rd Street, so he walks to 53rd Street and goes into the museum.

38 Extended Mind There is no deep difference between Otto and Inga. Therefore, since Inga believes the museum is on 53 rd St. before she consults her memory, Otto believes the museum is on 53 rd St. before he consults his notebook. That belief is stored in the notebook. Therefore, some beliefs are outside the head.

39 Introspection Objection Objection: Ingas access to her belief is introspective. She directly perceives her belief. Otto doesnt have the same access to his beliefs. Reply: This begs the question. If the belief really is in the notebook, then Otto is directly perceiving his belief when he looks at the notebook.

40 Phenomenology Objection When Inga consults her memory, it doesnt involve visual imagery. When Otto consults his notebook, this requires visually seeing the notebook.

41 The Terminator Reply

42 Extended Desire? [T]he waiter at my favorite restaurant might act as a repository of my beliefs about my favorite meals (this might even be construed as a case of extended desire).


44 Intentionality the Mark of the Mental [I]f something literally and unmetaphorically has content, then either it is mental (part of a mind) or the content is derived from something that is mental. Underived content (to borrow John Searles term) is the mark of the mental; underived content is what minds and only minds have. – Fodor, Where Is My Mind? LRB

45 Underived Content Mental states, according to Fodor, have underived content. This means they get their contents from their direct causal relations with the world. (Remember that Fodor holds the asymmetric dependence theory of mental represenation.)

46 Derived Content How do non-mental representations get their contents? How do maps, words, diagrams, paintings, etc. get their contents? One very standard answer is: from minds which already have (underived) contents. Words mean what they do because we want them to. Mind is the source of all representation.

47 The Mark of the Mental Fodor proposes the following principled distinction between mind and non-mind: something is mental if and only if it has underived content.

48 Fodors Argument 1.Ottos notebook contains only words. 2.Words have derived content; they only mean things because we mean things by them. 3.Therefore Ottos notebook is not mental.

49 Objection But wait! Doesnt Ottos notebook play the same causal/ functional role as Ingas memory? And doesnt Fodor hold a causal theory of mental (underived) representation? So doesnt Fodor have to say that the notebook has underived content and is thus mental?

50 A Difference in Processing Fodor says no. Return to Inga. When she consults her memory of where the museum does she: remembers that she remembers the address of the museum and, having consulted her memory of her memory then consults the memory she remembers having, and thus ends up at the museum (quote from Fodor)?

51 A Difference in Processing No. If you always had to remember a memory before retrieving it, every memory retrieval would take infinite steps. But now consider Otto: Otto does have to remember that he has a memory stored in his notebook before he can retrieve it. So the cases arent the same after all.

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