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The Extended Mind.

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Presentation on theme: "The Extended Mind."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Extended Mind

2 The asymmetric dependence theory

3 Horses Don’t Cause Horse
Causes Horse! Depends Causes

4 C.O.A.D.N. Don’t Cause “Horse!”
Causes Does Not Depend Horse! Causes

5 Asymmetric Dependence Theory
Concept C represents property P in virtue of the fact that Things with P cause C 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 Horses cause “Horse!” Non-horses that also cause “Horse!” only cause “Horse!” because horses cause “Horse!,” and not vice versa.

7 Robustness Causes Causes Why doesn’t “pepper” mean pepper-or-“salt”?

8 Proximal Stimuli Causes Causes
Why doesn’t “dog” mean dog-or-doggy-image?

9 Proximal Stimuli Causes Bark!

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

11 Hammer Objection Causes Causes

12 The extended mind

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 Stimulus Response Other Mental States

17 Stimulus Response 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. It’s like a mental simulation, but real.

21 Arranging Scrabble Tiles

22 Content Internalism Internalism about content says that content supervenes on mental representations: There’s 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 couldn’t 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 “what’s 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 it’s 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 there’s reason to think that in the future, other external processes will be coupled to us by implantation.

31 Objection Objection: OK, so I’ll count rotating tetris shapes, arranging scrabble tiles, and counting on your fingers as mental processes. But you can’t 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 Alzheimer’s disease, and like many Alzheimer’s 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 53rd St. before she consults her memory, Otto believes the museum is on 53rd St. before he consults his notebook. That belief is stored in the notebook. Therefore, some beliefs are outside the head.

39 Introspection Objection
Objection: Inga’s access to her belief is introspective. She directly perceives her belief. Otto doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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).”

43 Fodor vs. the extended mind

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 Searle’s 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 Fodor’s Argument Otto’s notebook contains only words.
Words have derived content; they only mean things because we mean things by them. Therefore Otto’s notebook is not mental.

49 Objection But wait! Doesn’t Otto’s notebook play the same causal/ functional role as Inga’s memory? And doesn’t Fodor hold a causal theory of mental (underived) representation? So doesn’t 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 aren’t the same after all.

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