Prompt #2: My research topic and the self

Research Project: Extended Mind and Self

It took me quite a while to determine my project topic, though it now still seems a little broad. I was fascinated with Alva Noe’s thesis that our mind (probably our self as well) is extended beyond the skull and into the body and the environment. Then I found the discussion of extended mind is backdropped by the recently exploding research of extended cognitive science in the past 20 years. Among the sources I found both those for the extended mind thesis and those against it. I would like to check out the essential arguments and evidence of both sides (maybe kiss one’s ass and defend against the other?), and explore their implications for our understanding of selfhood and subjectivity (e.g. moral responsibility). I expect that no conclusive answer other will be given in the end, but I will try to suggest specific directions for further exploration.


Sources for research project

1. General survey of the research area:

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Embodied Cognition”, published in 2011 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/embodied-cognition/#AgeSelSub

Shapiro, L., 2011, Embodied Cognition. New York: Routledge.

2. For the extended mind/self thesis:

Alva Noe, 2009, Our of Our Heads

Clark, A., and D. Chalmers, 1998, “The Extended Mind,” Analysis, 58: 10–23.

Clark, A., 2008, Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension, New York: Oxford University Press.

Wilson 2004, Boundaries of the Mind: The Individual in the Fragile Sciences: Cognition, Cambridge University Press.

3. Against the extended mind/self thesis:

Rupert, R.  2009b, Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind, Oxford University Press.


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2 Responses to Prompt #2: My research topic and the self

  1. Jason, thanks for the article, which seems very cool! Yes indeed, the scholars of my sources are mostly sympathetic to the extended mind/self idea, so I do need more materials on the other side.

  2. Jason Tougaw says:

    These are great sources. I think it would make a lot of sense to define this as a literature review on an emerging school of thought–making an argument about what this school of thought does or does not contribute to understandings of the mind and/or consciousness.

    I have a friend who writes a lot about the extended mind thesis. He wrote a guest piece about the topic for my blog: http://californica.net/2014/10/24/the-prosthetic-god-psychosomatic-extension-in-the-digital-age/

    I’ll ask him for suggestions for other sources. It seems you need at least a couple more that are skeptical of the idea.

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