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The Cognitive Ecology of the Internet

In Stephen Cowley & Frederic Vallée-Tourangeau (eds.), Cognition Beyond the Brain: Computation, Interactivity and Human Artifice (2nd ed.). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. pp. 251-282 (2017)

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  1. Taking Watsuji Online: Betweenness and Expression in Online Spaces.Lucy Osler & Joel Krueger - 2021 - Continental Philosophy Review (1):1-23.
    In this paper, we introduce the Japanese philosopher Tetsurō Watsuji’s phenomenology of aidagara (“betweenness”) and use his analysis in the contemporary context of online space. We argue that Watsuji develops a prescient analysis anticipating modern technologically-mediated forms of expression and engagement. More precisely, we show that instead of adopting a traditional phenomenological focus on face-to-face interaction, Watsuji argues that communication technologies — which now include Internet-enabled technologies and spaces — are expressive vehicles enabling new forms of emotional expression, shared experiences, (...)
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  • Varieties of Artifacts: Embodied, Perceptual, Cognitive, and Affective.Richard Heersmink - 2021 - Topics in Cognitive Science (4):1-24.
    The primary goal of this essay is to provide a comprehensive overview and analysis of the various relations between material artifacts and the embodied mind. A secondary goal of this essay is to identify some of the trends in the design and use of artifacts. First, based on their functional properties, I identify four categories of artifacts co-opted by the embodied mind, namely (1) embodied artifacts, (2) perceptual artifacts, (3) cognitive artifacts, and (4) affective artifacts. These categories can overlap and (...)
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  • Through the Newsfeed Glass: Rethinking Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers.Giacomo Figà Talamanca & Selene Arfini - 2022 - Philosophy and Technology 35 (1):1-34.
    In this paper, we will re-elaborate the notions of filter bubble and of echo chamber by considering human cognitive systems’ limitations in everyday interactions and how they experience digital technologies. Researchers who applied the concept of filter bubble and echo chambers in empirical investigations see them as forms of algorithmically-caused systems that seclude the users of digital technologies from viewpoints and opinions that oppose theirs. However, a significant majority of empirical research has shown that users do find and interact with (...)
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  • Ekologia Poznawcza Jako Tradycja Badawcza W Kognitywistyce.Witold Wachowski - 2021 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 11 (1).
    Cognitive ecology as a research tradition in cognitive science: The article presents cognitive ecology as a research tradition in cognitive science, under which studies on embodied cognition and various forms of situated cognition are conducted. At the same time, the basic heuristic of cognitive ecology and its relationship to methodological individualism are identified. The paper includes the history of the concept of “cognitive ecology”, historical approaches preceding this research tradition, as well as an outline of contemporary research related to it. (...)
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  • Varieties of Transparency: Exploring Agency Within AI Systems.Gloria Andrada, Robert William Clowes & Paul Smart - forthcoming - AI and Society:1-11.
    AI systems play an increasingly important role in shaping and regulating the lives of millions of human beings across the world. Calls for greater transparency from such systems have been widespread. However, there is considerable ambiguity concerning what “transparency” actually means, and therefore, what greater transparency might entail. While, according to some debates, transparency requires seeing through the artefact or device, widespread calls for transparency imply seeing into different aspects of AI systems. These two notions are in apparent tension with (...)
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  • Extending Introspection.Lukas Schwengerer - 2021 - In Robert William Clowes, Klaus Gärtner & Inês Hipólito (eds.), The Mind-Technology Problem - Investigating Minds, Selves and 21st Century Artifacts. Springer. pp. 231-251.
    Clark and Chalmers propose that the mind extends further than skin and skull. If they are right, then we should expect this to have some effect on our way of knowing our own mental states. If the content of my notebook can be part of my belief system, then looking at the notebook seems to be a way to get to know my own beliefs. However, it is at least not obvious whether self-ascribing a belief by looking at my notebook (...)
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  • Epistemic Complementarity: Steps to a Second-Wave Extended Epistemology.Gloria Andrada - forthcoming - In Robert W. Clowes, Klaus Gärtner & Inês Hipólito (eds.), The Mind-Technology Problem :Investigating Minds, Selves and 21st Century Artefacts. Springer Studies in Brain and Mind.
    In this chapter, I propose a new framework for extended epistemology, based on a second-wave approach to extended cognition. The framework is inclusive, in that it takes into account the complex interplay between the diverse embodiments of extended knowers and the salient properties of technological artifacts, as well as the environment in which they are embedded. Thus it both emphasizes and exploits the complementary roles played by these different elements. Finally, I motivate and explain this framework by applying it to (...)
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  • Engineering Affect: Emotion Regulation, the Internet, and the Techno-Social Niche.Joel Krueger & Lucy Osler - 2019 - Philosophical Topics 47 (2):205-231.
    Philosophical work exploring the relation between cognition and the Internet is now an active area of research. Some adopt an externalist framework, arguing that the Internet should be seen as environmental scaffolding that drives and shapes cognition. However, despite growing interest in this topic, little attention has been paid to how the Internet influences our affective life — our moods, emotions, and our ability to regulate these and other feeling states. We argue that the Internet scaffolds not only cognition but (...)
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  • Varieties of the Extended Self.Richard Heersmink - 2020 - Consciousness and Cognition 85:103001.
    This article provides an overview and analysis of recent work on the extended self, demonstrating that the boundaries of selves are fluid, shifting across biological, artifactual, and sociocultural structures. First, it distinguishes the notions of minimal self, person, and narrative self. Second, it surveys how philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists argue that embodiment, cognition, emotion, consciousness, and moral character traits can be extended and what that implies for the boundaries of selves. It also reviews and responds to various criticisms and (...)
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  • Social Machines: A Philosophical Engineering.Spyridon Palermos - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (5):953-978.
    In Weaving the Web, Berners-Lee defines Social Machines as biotechnologically hybrid Web-processes on the basis of which, “high-level activities, which have occurred just within one human’s brain, will occur among even larger more interconnected groups of people acting as if the shared a larger intuitive brain”. The analysis and design of Social Machines has already started attracting considerable attention both within the industry and academia. Web science, however, is still missing a clear definition of what a Social Machine is, which (...)
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  • The Narrative Self, Distributed Memory, and Evocative Objects.Richard Heersmink - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (8):1829-1849.
    In this article, I outline various ways in which artifacts are interwoven with autobiographical memory systems and conceptualize what this implies for the self. I first sketch the narrative approach to the self, arguing that who we are as persons is essentially our (unfolding) life story, which, in turn, determines our present beliefs and desires, but also directs our future goals and actions. I then argue that our autobiographical memory is partly anchored in our embodied interactions with an ecology of (...)
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  • Technological Environmentality: Conceptualizing Technology as a Mediating Milieu.Ciano Aydin, Margoth González Woge & Peter-Paul Verbeek - 2019 - Philosophy and Technology 32 (2):321-338.
    After several technological revolutions in which technologies became ever more present in our daily lives, the digital technologies that are currently being developed are actually fading away from sight. Information and Communication Technologies are not only embedded in devices that we explicitly “use” but increasingly become an intrinsic part of the material environment in which we live. How to conceptualize the role of these new technological environments in human existence? And how to anticipate the ways in which these technologies will (...)
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  • Distributed Cognition and Distributed Morality: Agency, Artifacts and Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2017 - Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (2):431-448.
    There are various philosophical approaches and theories describing the intimate relation people have to artifacts. In this paper, I explore the relation between two such theories, namely distributed cognition and distributed morality theory. I point out a number of similarities and differences in these views regarding the ontological status they attribute to artifacts and the larger systems they are part of. Having evaluated and compared these views, I continue by focussing on the way cognitive artifacts are used in moral practice. (...)
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  • Immaterial Engagement: Human Agency and the Cognitive Ecology of the Internet.Robert Clowes - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (1):259-279.
    While 4E cognitive science is fundamentally committed to recognising the importance of the environment in making sense of cognition, its interest in the role of artefacts seems to be one of its least developed dimensions. Yet the role of artefacts in human cognition and agency is central to the sorts of beings we are. Internet technology is influencing and being incorporated into a wide variety of our cognitive processes. Yet the dominant way of viewing these changes sees technology as an (...)
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  • Screen reading and the creation of new cognitive ecologies.Robert W. Clowes - 2018 - AI and Society 34 (4):705-720.
    It has been widely argued that digital technologies are transforming the nature of reading, and with it, our brains and a wide range of our cognitive capabilities. In this article, we begin by discussing the new analytical category of deep-reading and whether it is really on the decline. We analyse deep reading and its grounding in brain reorganization, based upon Michael Anderson’s Massive Redeployment hypothesis and Dehaene’s Neuronal Recycling which both help us to theorize how the capacities of brains are (...)
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  • Extended Cognition and the Internet: A Review of Current Issues and Controversies.Paul Smart - 2017 - Philosophy and Technology 30 (3):357-390.
    The Internet is an important focus of attention for those concerned with issues of extended cognition. In particular, the application of active externalist theorizing to the Internet gives rise to the notion of Internet-extended cognition: the idea that the Internet can form part of an integrated nexus of material elements that serves as the realization base for human mental states and processes. The current review attempts to survey a range of issues and controversies that arise in respect of the notion (...)
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  • Neuroethics, Cognitive Technologies and the Extended Mind Perspective.Jan-Hendrik Heinrichs - 2021 - Neuroethics 14 (1):59-72.
    Current debates in neuroethics engage with extremely diverse technologies, for some of which it is a point of contention whether they should be a topic for neuroethics at all. In this article, I will evaluate extended mind theory’s claim of being able to define the scope of neuroethics’ domain as well as determining the extension of an individual’s mind via its so-called trust and glue criteria. I argue that a) extending the domain of neuroethics by this manoeuvre endangers the theoretical (...)
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  • The Internet as Cognitive Enhancement.Cristina Voinea, Constantin Vică, Emilian Mihailov & Julian Savulescu - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2345-2362.
    The Internet has been identified in human enhancement scholarship as a powerful cognitive enhancement technology. It offers instant access to almost any type of information, along with the ability to share that information with others. The aim of this paper is to critically assess the enhancement potential of the Internet. We argue that unconditional access to information does not lead to cognitive enhancement. The Internet is not a simple, uniform technology, either in its composition, or in its use. We will (...)
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  • Situating Machine Intelligence Within the Cognitive Ecology of the Internet.Paul Smart - 2017 - Minds and Machines 27 (2):357-380.
    The Internet is an important focus of attention for the philosophy of mind and cognitive science communities. This is partly because the Internet serves as an important part of the material environment in which a broad array of human cognitive and epistemic activities are situated. The Internet can thus be seen as an important part of the ‘cognitive ecology’ that helps to shape, support and realize aspects of human cognizing. Much of the previous philosophical work in this area has sought (...)
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  • The Internet, Cognitive Enhancement, and the Values of Cognition.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Minds and Machines 26 (4):389-407.
    This paper has two distinct but related goals: (1) to identify some of the potential consequences of the Internet for our cognitive abilities and (2) to suggest an approach to evaluate these consequences. I begin by outlining the Google effect, which (allegedly) shows that when we know information is available online, we put less effort into storing that information in the brain. Some argue that this strategy is adaptive because it frees up internal resources which can then be used for (...)
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  • A Virtue Epistemology of the Internet: Search Engines, Intellectual Virtues and Education.Richard Heersmink - 2018 - Social Epistemology 32 (1):1-12.
    This paper applies a virtue epistemology approach to using the Internet, as to improve our information-seeking behaviours. Virtue epistemology focusses on the cognitive character of agents and is less concerned with the nature of truth and epistemic justification as compared to traditional analytic epistemology. Due to this focus on cognitive character and agency, it is a fruitful but underexplored approach to using the Internet in an epistemically desirable way. Thus, the central question in this paper is: How to use the (...)
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  • Distributed Selves: Personal Identity and Extended Memory Systems.Richard Heersmink - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):3135–3151.
    This paper explores the implications of extended and distributed cognition theory for our notions of personal identity. On an extended and distributed approach to cognition, external information is under certain conditions constitutive of memory. On a narrative approach to personal identity, autobiographical memory is constitutive of our diachronic self. In this paper, I bring these two approaches together and argue that external information can be constitutive of one’s autobiographical memory and thus also of one’s diachronic self. To develop this claim, (...)
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  • Cognition and the Web: Extended, Transactive, or Scaffolded?Richard Heersmink & John Sutton - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (1):139-164.
    In the history of external information systems, the World Wide Web presents a significant change in terms of the accessibility and amount of available information. Constant access to various kinds of online information has consequences for the way we think, act and remember. Philosophers and cognitive scientists have recently started to examine the interactions between the human mind and the Web, mainly focussing on the way online information influences our biological memory systems. In this article, we use concepts from the (...)
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