Andy Clark and the Extended Mind

The concept of the extended mind challenges traditional assumptions about the frontier between mind and world. The extended mind does not just reside in the confines of the skull or the skin, but is rather spread out in the surrounding environment. A knot in my handkerchief may, for example, be as much part of my memory as an encoding in the brain. Intelligence, on this view, is not understood as being propositional knowledge, present to an internal viewer, so much as an ability of agents situated in an environment.

There have been two main influences on the emergence of this concept in the analytical tradition. One is the programme of artificial intelligence and its failures using linguaform computer-modelling. A second major influence is the reception of phenomenological thought about perception and action, particularly that of Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

We will take Andy Clark?s book Being There: Putting Brain, Body and World Together Again as our central text and we will also read chapters from Merleau-Ponty, The Structure of Behaviour (La Structure du Comportement) and Hubert Dreyfus, What Computers Still Can?t Do. The course will be conducted in English.