Balder: Yes, I understand that Luhmann distinguishes between cognition and communication, but since I believe Luhmann regards cognition and communication as elmental to their respective systems, and since Bryant has appeared to regard cognition as elemental to a biological system, my thought was -- if he is following Luhmann generally, and also more specifically his own interpretation of the status of cognition for the organism -- then he would likely regard extended cognition as "elemental" (non-substantial) for an organizational or social system as well.
But I'm with you in wondering about this, since as I also argued earlier on, thought does seem to have object-like qualities as well.
theurj: Something else Bryant said in the quote above, about the social structure not requiring "any centralized planner nor agents that have an overall representation." I'm reminded about Wilber's differentiation between individual and social holons, the former having a dominant monad while the latter does not. The thing is, with EM the organic individual suobject doesn't have this either, its own cognition being distributed. Yes, it has its own endo-structure distinguished from its exo-relations, as does the social suobject. Bryant agrees with that much. And the individual organic suobject translates perturbations (ideas) from outside in a unique fashion, as does the social suobject.
And even the mediating suobject that communicates between the two (sign) has its own suobstance, presumably its own endo and exo-relations? So an idea in the endo-relation of the sign? Or just its element? The idea being an element for all of them? That can't be, for elements are not shared or communicated, residing strictly in endo-relations. Only a real suobject can be communicated, right?
So it* strikes me that perhaps Lakoff's embodied basic categories are akin to Bryant's endo-structural organization. Both provide the frame through which a suobject interprets or translates its environment or perturbations therefrom. While each suobject's basic categories are unique by some infinitesimal amount they are still mostly similar (99.9%?) to other bodies in the same type, like humans. Lakoff also makes clear that our basic categories do not exist in the outer world, that they are unique to humanity in its translative capacity, that they do not provide a 1-to-1 representation of the world as it is. Granted it's close enough to respond to the world and not only survive but thrive. But still, like endo-relations they are inside, not outside.
However the outside still gets inside in both systems, or at least affects the inside, for we must engage successfully in exo-relations to survive. And it is here where our inside-outside boundary becomes more porous than insular. With extended cognition, something not explored by Lakoff that I can see, it appears that even our basic categories might indeed exist in the environment. Or something very much like them that then becomes translated through our biological neurostructure. Here Bryant is instructive in that any suobject has this self-defining endo-structure which translates its environment, so any suobject has its own version of basic categories.
So I'm suggesting that the basic categories themselves are an inherent structure to the material world, not in some Platonic ideal type but as inherent to embodiment of any kind by the very nature of a difference that makes a difference. Ideas then are not involuted from above but generated and evolved from below out of embodied basic structures. Granted it appears ideas require a more complex biological base to materialize, but perhaps this will also be so with machines some day. The point however is that once ideas are generated they too become embodied suobstances with a life of their own which get communicated via signs and infect others of like mind. Again this will be translated uniquely to the degree of maybe 0.1%, but 99.9% of that idea will remain intact across the individual boundary.
I'm struggling to communicate this but I think I got the general idea out before it evaporated. I'll clarify more as it articulates further in my own extended mind as further broadcasts from Sirius are translated therein .
* The suobstantive idea in itself, that is.
Update: I did a Google search on "basic categories" and "endo-relations" and the only results were 2 posts in the IPS OOO thread. One is the recent entry directly above, the other is this one and a few following, where I was on to a similar notion. Seems I'm the only one on the internet exploring this relation. Imagine that, an original enquiry without precedent. Seems I really am picking up signals from Sirius. Or something.