Where is the understanding?

Synthese 192 (12):3859-3875 (2015)
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Recent work in epistemology and philosophy of science has argued that understanding is an important cognitive state that philosophers should seek to analyse. This paper offers a new perspective on understanding by looking to work in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Understanding is normally taken to be inside the head. I argue that this view is mistaken. Often, understanding is a state that criss-crosses brain, body and world. To support this claim, I draw on extended cognition, a burgeoning framework in cognitive science that stresses the crucial role played by tools, material representations and the wider environment in our cognitive processes. I defend an extended view of understanding against likely objections and argue that it has important consequences for questions concerning the nature of understanding and its relationship to explanation
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The Extended Mind.Clark, Andy & Chalmers, David J.

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