Monday, March 26, 2018

Evolutionary e-cognition

Continuing this post, the authors responded to some criticism in this article. On the criticism that “we have confused proximate and ultimate levels of explanation” regarding e-cognition, they respond:

“That said, Stephen et al. perhaps jumped the gun by stating that E-cognition is a proximate and not an ultimate approach, without providing any reason as to why this is the case. Indeed, some forms of E-cognition are fundamentally evolutionary. For instance, certain aspects of the extended mind argument have been made in an explicitly evolutionary way, captured by Clark’s (2005) “007 Principle” and Rowlands’ (2003) “barking dog principle.” Both of these suggest that a thrifty evolutionary process will not build internal resources (especially expensive neural tissue) if the structure of the environment itself can be exploited in a way that can bear some of the cognitive burden. Distributed, extended cognition is thus the process by which internal resources are replaced or complemented by reliable external structures, with the idea that organisms that pursue this route will achieve higher fitness. This is supported by analogies from other species (for example, the manner in which the physics of a cricket’s body automatically filters out extraneous sounds; a process that would otherwise need to be performed by neural tissue: Barrett, 2011) and so the extended mind also adopts the phylogenetic perspective for which Stephen et al. advocate.”

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