The Possibility of the Extended Knower

In Karyn Lai (ed.), Knowers and Knowledge in East-West Philosophy: Epistemology Extended. Springer Nature. pp. 235-253 (2021)
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Abstract

In their influential paper “The extended mind”, Andy Clark and David Chalmers argue for the possibility of the extended mind. Based on Clark and Chalmers’s views, Stephen Hetherington argues in his paper “The extended knower” that there are extended knowers, provided epistemic externalism holds. He also uses the argument and its conclusion to criticize Baron Reed’s scepticism in the paper “The long road to skepticism” : 236–262, 2007). In this chapter, I argue that both Hetherington’s notion of the extended knower and his argument are problematic. This is because the conceptual intelligibility of his notion of the extended knower entails the highly counterintuitive consequence that, in some cases, some negative entities would have to be constitutive of the extended knower. I also show that Hetherington’s criticism of Reed’s scepticism is not successful, and that there is no reason to believe that Clark and Chalmers would hold that there is the extended knower in Hetherington’s sense.

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Leo Cheung
Chinese University of Hong Kong

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