Monday, October 1, 2012

Sensuous objects and the extended mind

Continuing the theme from this and previous posts, culled from the suobstantive suobject IPS Forum:

Another question I have is how does OOO address the extended mind theory,* an extension of embodied cognition? In EMT a thought can act like a meme in the environment and be transferred to and through individual minds, i.e., the thought didn't originate within an individual's endo-structural relations. Granted Bryant allows that exo-relations can and do affect and/or change endo-relations. Perhaps the meme crosses the individual boundary and is translated according to the individual, with its private thoughts about the meme being sensuous objects? But this still leave the originating meme-thought as an external real object, does it not?

Bryant has some posts on EM. Here's one, which also references a previous post. The following is interesting and gets at my point, from the earlier of Bryant's posts linked in the post I linked:

"Cultural institutions and technologies begin to think for us. In Being-There Clark gives the example of an office where there are all sorts of subroutines for particular actions ('place the pink form in the bin labeled x'). The institutional structure does not require any centralized planner nor agents that have an overall representation of how the office works, but rather all the subroutines, including their material elements, collaborate in a distributed fashion together to produce a set of regular results. The institution as a whole has cognition in and through its mesh. This mesh wouldn’t be able to function without brains, but those brains are only a component in these cognitive processes. This is what allows us to claim that cultures and societies think."

No mention of how it relates to endo-relations though.

Now Bryant does say that in the above example this is because the individual human suobject is a suobstantive part of a larger assemblage, in this case a social institution capable of distributed thinking. But the thinking is not an element that belongs to the strictly endo-relational structure of the human that translates it. Yes, the translation is peculiar to that human's endo-relations, but the thinking and the thought that perturbs it is its own real suobstance, yes?

* Also see Clark and Chalmer's paper on the topic.

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