A challenge to the extended mind hypothesis

Dissertation, University of Glasgow (2018)
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The extended mind hypothesis (EMH) has been a major focus of debate since its publication in 1998, prompting interest from proponents and exponents alike. At the heart of the paper is the aim of understanding mental phenomena, specifically, what constitutes a mental state. To fully understand EMH it is crucial to appreciate the distinction between our mental states. Firstly, we have mental states that derive from our experiences, these are considered conscious states. They contain feelings or emotions, for example, falling in love, having a pain or being moved by a piece of music. This type of mental state has the feature of phenomenology, a particular character or quality, for example, there is something it is like to see a red apple. Secondly, there are non-conscious mental states that occur without our knowledge of them or indeed we perform actions without consciously thinking about it. These types of mental states possess intentionality meaning that they are about something, for example, I believe that Oswald shot Kennedy or that I am scared of the dark. It is with this clear distinction between conscious and unconscious mental states defined that we can begin to understand the argument presented by Clark and Chalmers.

Author's Profile

Elaine McKenzie Jackson
University Of Glasgow


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