Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension [Book Review]

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For well over two decades, Andy Clark has been gleaning theoretical lessons from the leading edge of cognitive science, applying a combination of empirical savvy and philosophical instinct that few can match. Clark’s most recent book, Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension, brilliantly expands his oeuvre. It offers a well-informed and focused survey of research in the burgeoning field of situated cognition, a field that emphasizes the contribution of environmental and non-neural bodily structures to the production of intelligent behavior. The situated research program, fledgling though it may be in some respects, has reached an age at which its philosophical stock can reasonably be taken; and Clark is just the person to take it. Supersizing the Mind consists of three main divisions. The first develops the case for the distinctively extended view of cognition, according to which the human mind or cognitive system literally comprises elements beyond the boundary of the human organism. The second responds to critics of the extended outlook: Frederick Adams, Kenneth Aizawa, Keith Butler, Brie Gertler, Rick Grush, and me, among others. The third major division evaluates nonextended strands in the situated program, in particular, those that emphasize the role of the non-neural body in cognition.
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First archival date: 2015-11-21
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