James Bond and the Barking Dog: Evolution and Extended Cognition

Larry Shapiro has a new paper posted on his website.

Prominent defenders of the extended cognition thesis have looked to evolutionary theory for support. Roughly, the idea is that natural selection leads one to expect that cognitive strategies should exploit the environment, and exploitation of the right sort results in a cognitive system that extends beyond the head of the organism. I argue that proper appreciation of evolutionary theory should create no such expectation. This leaves open whether cognitive systems might in fact bear a relationship to the environment that leads to their extension.