Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension

By Andy Clark | Go to book overview

9
Disentangling Embodiment

9.1 Three Threads
Drawing on the various work and case studies presented in previous chapters, we can now display three distinct but sometimes overlapping ways in which embodiment seems to matter for mind and cognition. The three ways are:
1. Spreading the Load. The body and brain, thanks to evolution and learning, are adept at spreading the load. Bodily morphology, development, action, and biomechanics, as well as environmental structure and interventions, can reconfigure a wide variety of control and learning problems in ways that promote fluid and efficient problem solving and adaptive response.
2. Self-Structuring of Information.1 The presence of an active, selfcontrolled, sensing body allows an agent to create or elicit appropriate inputs, generating good data (for herself and for others) by actively conjuring flows of multimodal, correlated, time-locked stimulation.
3. Supporting Extended Cognition. The presence of an active, self-controlled, sensing body (a) provides a resource that can itself act as part of the problem-solving economy and (b) allows for the

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Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Philosophy of Mind ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Contents xxi
  • Introduction - Brainbound versus Extended xxv
  • I - From Embodiment to Cognitive Extension 1
  • 1 - The Active Body 3
  • 2 - The Negotiable Body 30
  • 3 - Material Symbols 44
  • 4 - World, Incorporated 61
  • II - Boundary Disputes 83
  • 5 - Mind Re-Bound? 85
  • 6 - The Cure for Cognitive Hiccups (Hemc, Hec, Hemc …) 111
  • 7 - Rediscovering the Brain 140
  • III - The Limits of Embodiment 167
  • 8 - Painting, Planning, and Perceiving 169
  • 9 - Disentangling Embodiment 196
  • 10 - Conclusions- Mind as Mashup 218
  • Appendix- The Extended Mind 220
  • Notes 233
  • References 255
  • Index 277
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