Engineering the Minds of the Future: An Intergenerational Approach to Cognitive Technology

Axiomathes 32 (6):1281-1295 (2022)
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The first part of this article makes the case that human cognition is an intergenerational project enabled by the inheritance and bequeathal of cognitive technology (Sects. 2–4). The final two sections of the article (Sects. 5 and 6) explore the normative significance of this claim. My case for the intergenerational claim draws results from multiple disciplines: philosophy (Sect. 2), cultural evolutionary approaches in cognitive science (Sect. 3), and developmental psychology and neuroscience (Sect. 4). In Sect. 5, I propose that cognitive technology should be given to future generations in accordance with principles of pluralism and transparency. In the final main section of the article, Sect. 6, I apply these principles to topics such as the preservation of information, environmental offloading of cognition, and thinking itself.

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Michael Madary
University of the Pacific


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