Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension

Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension

by Andy Clark
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press


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Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension

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.

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)

About the Author

Andy Clark is Professor of Philosophy, Edinburgh University. Author of Being There, and Natural Born Cyborgs.

Table of Contents

Forward: By David Chalmers
Introduction: BRAINBOUND versus EXTENDED
I: From Embodiment to Cognitive Extension
1. The Active Body
2. The Negotiable Body
3. Material Symbols
4. World, Incorporated
II. Boundary Disputes
5. Mind Re-bound?
6. The Cure for Cognitive Hiccups (HEMC, HEC, HEMC...)
7. Rediscovering the Brain
III: The Limits of Embodiment
8. Painting, Planning, and Perceiving
9. Disentangling Embodiment
10. Conclusions: Mindsized Bites
Appendix: The Extended Mind, Andy Clark and David Chalmers

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