The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 6, 2007

Epistemology

Terence Sullivan
Pages 145-149

The Mind Ain't Just in the Head-Defending and Extending the Extended Mind

Andy Clark and David Chalmers have recently argued that the world beyond our skin can constitute part of the mind. That is, our minds can and sometimes do extend beyond our heads and bodies. Clark and Chalmers refer to this claim as the 'Extended Mind'. After illustrating the Extended Mind via a thought-experiment I turn to consider a criticism made by Lawrence Shapiro. After outlining Shapiro's claim I will show that in fact this does little to call into to doubt the Extended Mind. However, Clark holds that the Extended Mind does face a serious criticism from the threat of 'Mental Bloat'; the worry here is that arguing that the mind extends beyond the skin quickly leads to absurdities. I consider Clark's response to this worry but find it to be unconvincing. However, I go on to show that there is in fact little to fear from Mental Bloat. Therefore, it will be my conclusion that there is some reason to hold that the mind ain't just in the head.