Extended Cognitive System and Epistemic Subject

Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 40 (1):111-128 (2015)
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Abstract

The concept of an extended cognitive system is central to contemporary studies of cognition. In the paper I analyze the place of the epistemic subject within the extended cognitive system. Is it extended as well? In answering this question I focus on the differences between the first and the second wave of arguments for the extended mind thesis. I argue that the position of Cognitive Integration represented by Richard Menary is much more intuitive and fruitful in analyses of cognition and knowledge than the early argument formulated by Andy Clark and David Chalmers. Cognitive Integration is compatible with virtue epistemology of John Greco’s agent reliabilism. The epistemic subject is constituted by its cognitive character composed of an integrated set of cognitive abilities and processes. Some of these processes are extended, they are a manipulation of external informational structures and, as such, they constitute epistemic practices. Epistemic practices are normative; to conduct them correctly the epistemic subject needs to obey epistemic norms embedded in the cultural context. The epistemic subject is not extended because of the casual coupling with external informational artifacts which extend his mind from inside the head and into the world. Rather, cognitive practices constitute the subject’s mind, they transform his cognitive abilities, and this is what makes the mind and epistemic subject “extended”.

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Barbara Trybulec
Maria Curie-Sklodowska University

Citations of this work

Group as a Distributed Subject of Knowledge: Between Radicalism and Triviality.Barbara Trybulec - 2017 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 8 (1):183-207.

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