Extended cognition

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


What takes place in the environment clearly in?uences cognitive processing. Children raised around speakers of English typically learn to understand English, whereas children raised around speakers of German typically learn to understand German. Accountants using calculators will typically know that accounts are balanced more quickly than those who use pencil and paper. Extended cognition goes beyond such pedestrian observations. Rather than causal dependency relations between cognitive processes and environmental processes, extended cognition postulates a constitutive dependence between cognitive processes and processes in brain, body, and environment. Cognitive processes are realized, not just in the brain, but also in the body and world. This brief chapter will focus on two types of arguments for extended cognition inspired by Clark and Chalmers (1998). First, there has been the thought that cognition extends when processes in the brain, body, and world are suitably similar to processes taking place in the brain. We might describe these as cognitive equivalence arguments for extended cognition. Second, there has been the thought that, when there is the right kind of causal connection between a cognitive process and bodily and environmental processes, cognitive processes come to be realized by processes in the brain, body, and world. We might describe these as coupling arguments for extended cognition. What critics have found problematic are the kinds of similarity relations that have been taken to be applicable or suitable for concluding that there is extended cognition and the conditions that have been o?ered as providing the right kind of causal connection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781317688662
ISBN (Print)9780415623612
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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