The Parity Argument for Extended Consciousness

Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (3-4):16-33 (2015)
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Abstract
Andy Clark and David Chalmers (1998) argue that certain mental states and processes can be partially constituted by objects located beyond one’s brain and body: this is their extended mind thesis (EM). But they maintain that consciousness relies on processing that is too high in speed and bandwidth to be realized outside the body (see Chalmers, 2008, and Clark, 2009). I evaluate Clark’s and Chalmers’ reason for denying that consciousness extends while still supporting unconscious state extension. I argue that their reason is not well grounded and does not hold up against foreseeable advances in technology. I conclude that their current position needs re-evaluation. If their original parity argument works as a defence of EM, they have yet to identify a good reason why it does not also work as a defence of extended consciousness. I end by advancing a parity argument for extended consciousness and consider some possible replies.
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