Extended Mind and Identity

In Jens Clausen & Neil Levy (eds.), Handbook of Neuroethics. Springer. pp. 423-439 (2014)
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Dominant views of personal identity in philosophy take some kind of psychological continuity or connectedness over time to be criterial for the identity of a person over time. Such views assign psychological states, particularly those necessary for narrative memory of some kind, special importance in thinking about the nature of persons. The extended mind thesis, which has generated much recent discussion in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, holds that a person’s psychological states can physically extend beyond that person’s body. Since “person” is a term of both metaphysical and moral significance, and discussions of both extended minds and personal identity have often focused on memory, this article explores the relevance of extended cognition for the identity of persons with special attention to neuroethics and memory.



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Bartlomiej Lenart
University of Calgary
Robert A. Wilson
University of Western Australia

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