Dimensions of integration in embedded and extended cognitive systems

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3):577-598 (2015)
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Abstract

The complementary properties and functions of cognitive artifacts and other external resources are integrated into the human cognitive system to varying degrees. The goal of this paper is to develop some of the tools to conceptualize this complementary integration between agents and artifacts. It does so by proposing a multidimensional framework, including the dimensions of information flow, reliability, durability, trust, procedural transparency, informational transparency, individualization, and transformation. The proposed dimensions are all matters of degree and jointly they constitute a multidimensional space in which situated cognitive systems can be located and have certain dimensional configurations. These dimensions provide a new perspective on the conditions for cognitive extension. They are, however, not meant to provide a set of necessary and sufficient conditions, but to provide a toolbox for investigating the degree and nature of the integration of agent and artifact into “new systemic wholes”. The higher a situated system scores on the proposed dimensions, the more functional integration occurs, and the more tightly coupled the system is.

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Richard Heersmink
Tilburg University

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