Strange but True On the Counter-Intuitiveness of the Extended Mind Hypothesis

Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (9-10):9-10 (2013)
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The Extended Mind Hypothesis (EM) strikes many as counter-intuitive. It is the claim that things outside of human bodies are literally parts of human minds. But EM rests upon a plausible idea: that the world itself is minded when parts of it are functionally equivalent to parts of human minds. In this paper, we address two intuitive criticisms of EM recently expressed by Sam Coleman (Coleman, 2011). The first is that the examples of extended mind offered by advocates of EM are not parts of minds, because subjects are not “conscious” or “immediately aware” of those parts of the external world. The second is that the principle at the heart of the argument for EM is biased in favor of EM. We show how both of these intuitive criticisms of EM fail. Our ultimate aim is to suggest that the counter-intuitiveness of EM is not a barrier to its acceptance.

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Chauncey Maher
Dickinson College


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