HoloFoldit and Hologrammatically Extended Cognition

Philosophy and Technology 35 (106):1-9 (2022)
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How does the integration of mixed reality devices into our cognitive practices impact the mind from a metaphysical and epistemological perspective? In his innovative and interdisciplinary article, “Minds in the Metaverse: Extended Cognition Meets Mixed Reality” (2022), Paul Smart addresses this underexplored question, arguing that the use of a hypothetical application of the Microsoft HoloLens called “the HoloFoldit” represents a technologically high-grade form of extended cognizing from the perspective of neo-mechanical philosophy. This short commentary aims to (1) carve up the conceptual landscape of possible objections to Smart’s argument and (2) elaborate on the possibility of hologrammatically extended cognition, which is supposed to be one of the features of the HoloFoldit case that distinguishes it from more primitive forms of cognitive extension. In tackling (1), I do not mean to suggest that Smart does not consider or have sufficient answers to these objections. In addressing (2), the goal is not to argue for or against the possibility of hologrammatically extended cognition but to reveal some issues in the metaphysics of virtual reality upon which this possibility hinges. I construct an argument in favor of hologrammatically extended cognition based on the veracity of virtual realism (Chalmers, 2017) and an argument against it based on the veracity of virtual fctionalism (McDonnell and Wildman, 2019).

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Cody Turner
University of Notre Dame