Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 54, 2008

Time and Memory

Young E. Lee
Page 21

The Nature of Embodied Distributed Cognition

There has been a lot of strong evidence showing that human cognition works not in a central processing way but in a distributed way. As well known, human brain processes huge information in a parallel and distributed way. Recently cognitive scientists have contended that the minds are embodied in environment. These two ideas of distribution in cognition and embodiment in the mind can go along overall, but there is a tension between them in some specific respects, especially in the matter of representation. The aim of this paper is to examine the possibility of the embodied distributed cognition by focusing on the concept of mental representation. Firstly, I shall examine the nature of embodied mind and distributed cognition. Secondly I shall make a distinction between those ideas that the notion of embodiment can be confined to the mind but the notion of distribution can be applied to both the mind and to its environment. This implies a difference of applicability of those notions. That is, while the suitable application domain of the latter is scientific cognition, that of the former is our mind. This difference can throw light upon untangling the dispute between Churchland's internalism and Giere's externalism of presentation.