Extended cognition and epistemology

H/T to Ken Aizawa for bringing this bumper EM issue to my attention. For a while now I’ve been banging on about the idea that these two literatures, EM and epistemology, have much to say to each other. In this regard I have mentioned in my writings two of the contributors to this issue, Sandy Goldberg and Duncan Pritchard, bona fide epistemologists who make the connection. Of course, I’m indebted to Andy Clark (one of the editors) for bringing the concept of stigmergy to my attention years back, stigmergy giving me the conceptual apparatus to make the same connections but in a somewhat different way. Here is the opening paragraph of the issue’s intro and the full lineup.

Introduction: Extended cognition and epistemology

Andy Clark, Duncan Pritchard and Krist Vaesen

According to the thesis of extended cognition, cognitive processes do not need to be fully located inside the skin of the cognizing agent. Humans routinely engage their wider artifactual environment to extend the capacities of their naked brain. They often rely extensively on external aids (notebooks, watches, and smartphones) and the latter may (under certain conditions) become a proper part of the cognizing mind. The thesis of extended cognition has been influential in the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, linguistics, informatics, and ethics, but, surprisingly, not in contemporary epistemology. The discipline concerned with one of the most remarkable products of human cognition – viz., knowledge – has largely ignored the suggestion that its main object of study might be produced by cognitive processes outside the human skin. The purpose of this volume is therefore to examine the ramifications of extended cognition for epistemology – which, as it turns out, are quite profound.

 The lineup:

Distinguishing virtue epistemology and extended cognition – Kenneth Aizawa

Extended cognition meets epistemology – Fred Adams

Extending the credit theory of knowledge – Adam Green

You do the maths: rules, extension, and cognitive responsibility – Tom Roberts

Cognitive practices and cognitive character – Richard Menary

Distributed cognitive agency in virtue epistemology – Michael David Kirchhoff & Will Newsome

Epistemic extendedness, testimony, and the epistemology of instrument-based belief – Sanford C. Goldberg

Scientific cognition: human centered but not human bound – Ronald N. Giere

The extended knower – Stephen Hetherington

The epistemic/pragmatic dichotomy – Paul Loader

Mentalism is not epistemic ur-internalism- Evan Butts