Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.92
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 87%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (12) from $9.92   
  • New (6) from $48.53   
  • Used (6) from $9.92   


When historian Charles Weiner found pages of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman's notes, he saw it as a "record" of Feynman's work. Feynman himself, however, insisted that the notes were not a record but the work itself. In Supersizing the Mind, Andy Clark argues that our thinking doesn't happen only in our heads but that "certain forms of human cognizing include inextricable tangles of feedback, feed-forward and feed-around loops: loops that promiscuously criss-cross the boundaries of brain, body and world." The pen and paper of Feynman's thought are just such feedback loops, physical machinery that shape the flow of thought and enlarge the boundaries of mind. Drawing upon recent work in psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, robotics, human-computer systems, and beyond, Supersizing the Mind offers both a tour of the emerging cognitive landscape and a sustained argument in favor of a conception of mind that is extended rather than "brain-bound." The importance of this new perspective is profound. If our minds themselves can include aspects of our social and physical environments, then the kinds of social and physical environments we create can reconfigure our minds and our capacity for thought and reason.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In Supersizing the Mind, Clark furthers the debate marvelously. He manages to engage, in a detailed and focused way, with the most active and prominent philosophers writing about situated cognition, while also introducing the empirical work and big picture ideas that animate the subject. I highly recommend this book." —Journal of Mind and Behavior

"Supersizing the Mind is an important book for cognitive-science theorists of all stripes.... Although traditional and radical theorists are likely to remain unconvinced, there can be no doubt that Supersizing the Mind will set the terms for many of the coming debates."—Evan Thompson, Times Literary Supplement

" offers original thinking in the philosophy of mind, and it is highly recommended for academic collections in that subject."—Library Journal

"In Supersizing the Mind, philosopher Andy Clark makes the compelling argument that the mind extends beyond the body to include the tools, symbols and other artefacts we deploy to engage the world.... Supersizing the Mind is a treat to read. It is brimming with remarkable ideas, novel insights and amusing language."—Nature

"Supersizing the Mind is tantalizing in many respects, and Clark's ingenuity is always on display. Just as his earlier Being There launched many a research project, we expect that Supersizing the Mind will inspire a new generation of philosophers, psychologists, and artificial intelligence researchers to reconsider some basic assumptions about the mind."—Lawrence Shapiro and Shannon Spaulding, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"This is an important book; it provides compelling and empirically well-supported argument; it offers a survey of the state-of-play in contemporary cognitive science; it directs our attention to the most pressing foundational issue in the study of mind, that of how to reconcile the information-processing perspective with the growing recognition that action and the body, not to mention technology, have a crucial role in our mental lives."—Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Library Journal

Clark's (philosophy, Edinburgh Univ., Scotland; Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies and the Future of Human Intelligence) title and subtitle are indicative of where his thinking is positioned concerning the philosophy of mind. The traditional view in this area, from the philosophical ancients forward, is that thinking happens only in, or is encapsulated in, our heads. But Clark argues that our minds are not merely embodied but become cognitively extended-hence "supersized"-by interaction in the material world. To fill out this version of the philosophy of mind, Clark looks at recent research in linguistics, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, robotics, computerization, and more. This is not any easy book; it offers original thinking in the philosophy of mind, and it is highly recommended for academic collections in that subject.
—Leon H. Brody

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195333213
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/29/2008
  • Series: Philosophy of Mind Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Clark is Professor of Philosophy in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, at Edinburgh University in Scotland. He is the author of several books including Being There: Putting Brain, Body and World Together Again (1997) and Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies and The Future Of Human Intelligence (OUP, 2003).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Forward: By David Chalmers
Introduction: BRAINBOUND versus EXTENDED
I: From Embodiment to Cognitive Extension
1. The Active Body
1.1. A Walk on the Wild Side
1.2. Inhabited Interaction
1.3. Active Sensing
1.4. Distributed Functional Decomposition
1.5. Sensing for Coupling
1.6. Information Self-Structuring
1.7. Perception, Qualia, and Sensorimotor Expectations
1.8. Time and Mind
1.9. Dynamics and (Soft) Computation
2. The Negotiable Body
2.1. Where the Rubber Meets the Road
2.2. What's in an Interface?
2.3. New Systemic Wholes
2.4. Substitutes
2.5. Incorporation Vs Use
2.6. Towards Cognitive Extension
2.7. Three Grades of Embodiment
3. Material Symbols
3.1. Language as Scaffolding
3.2. Augmenting Reality
3.3. Sculpting Attention
3.4. Hybrid Thoughts?
3.5. From Translation to Coordination
3.6. Second-order Cognitive Dynamics
3.7. Self-made Minds
4. World, Incorporated
4.1. Cognitive Niche Construction: A Primer
4.2. Cognition in the Globe: A Cameo
4.3. Thinking Space
4.4. Epistemic Engineers
4.5. Exploitative Representation and Wide Computation
4.6. Tetris: The Update
4.7. The Swirl of Organization
4.8. Extending the Mind
4.9. BRAINBOUND versus EXTENDED: The Case So Far
II. Boundary Disputes
5. Mind Re-bound?
5.1. EXTENDED Anxiety
5.2. Pencil Me In
5.3. The Odd Coupling
5.4. Cognitive Candidacy
5.5. The Mark of the Cognitive?
5.6. Kinds and Minds
5.7. Perception and Development
5.8. Deception and Contested Space
5.9. Folk Intuition and Cognitive Extension
5.10. Asymmetry and Lopsideness
5.11. Similarity vs Complementarity
5.12. Hippo-World
6. The Cure for Cognitive Hiccups (HEMC, HEC, HEMC)
6.1. Rupert's Challenge
6.2. HEC versus HEMC
6.3. Parity and Cognitive Kinds (Again)
6.4. The Persisting Core
6.5. Cognitive Impartiality
6.6. A Brain Teaser
6.7. Thoughtful Gestures
6.8. Material Carriers
6.9. Loops as Mechanisms
6.10. Anarchic Self-Stimulation
6.11. Autonomous Coupling
6.12. Why the HEC?
6.13. The Cure
7. Rediscovering the Brain
7.1. Matter into Mind
7.2. Honey, I Shrunk the Representations
7.3. Change Spotting: The Sequel
7.4. Thinking about Thinking: The Brain's Eye View
7.5. Born-Again Cartesians?
7.6. Surrogate Situations
7.7. Plug Points
7.8. Brain Control
7.9. Asymmetry Arguments
7.10. Extended in a Vat
7.11. The (Situated) Cognizer's Innards
III: The Limits of Embodiment
8. Painting, Planning, and Perceiving
8.1. Enacting Perceptual Experience
8.2. The Painter and the Perceiver
8.3. Three Virtues of the Strong Sensorimotor Model
8.4. A Vice: Sensorimotor (Hyper) Sensitivity
8.5. What Reaching Teaches
8.6. (Tweaked)Tele-Assistance
8.7. Sensorimotor Summarizing
8.8. Virtual Content, Again
8.9. Beyond the Sensorimotor Frontier
9. Disentangling Embodiment
9.1. Three Threads
9.2. The Separability Thesis
9.3. Beyond Flesh-eating Functionalism.
9.4. Ada, Adder, and Odder
9.5. A Tension Revealed
9.7. Participant Machinery and Morphological Computation
9.8. Quantifying Embodiment
9.9. The Heideggerian Theatre
10. Conclusions: Mindsized Bites
Appendix: The Extended Mind (Andy Clark and David Chalmers)

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)