Extending Introspection

In Robert William Clowes, Klaus Gärtner & Inês Hipólito (eds.), The Mind-Technology Problem - Investigating Minds, Selves and 21st Century Artifacts. Springer. pp. 231-251 (2021)
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Clark and Chalmers propose that the mind extends further than skin and skull. If they are right, then we should expect this to have some effect on our way of knowing our own mental states. If the content of my notebook can be part of my belief system, then looking at the notebook seems to be a way to get to know my own beliefs. However, it is at least not obvious whether self-ascribing a belief by looking at my notebook is a case of introspection the same way that knowing my non-extended beliefs is. Traditionally this sort of introspection is thought to be privileged and special in ways that the extended introspection case seems not to be. There is nothing privileged about looking at my notebook. Anyone could do it. The aim of the paper is to find out how to understand extended introspection and whether there is something privileged and special about knowing one’s own extended beliefs. Moreover, the notebook case has close analogs using twenty-first century technology. It seems possible to know our beliefs that are extended to smartphones, wearable technology or a cloud-based data store. First, I present the case of extended introspection. I then discuss whether it should be understood as ordinary introspection or as mind-reading. Both seem to be bad fits, which finally prompts an original account for extended introspection based on epistemic rules.

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Lukas Schwengerer
University of Duisburg-Essen


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