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Socially Extended Epistemology$
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J. Adam Carter, Andy Clark, Jesper Kallestrup, S. Orestis Palermos, and Duncan Pritchard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801764

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801764.001.0001

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Mind Outside Brain

Mind Outside Brain

A Radically Non-Dualist Foundation for Distributed Cognition

Chapter:
(p.59) 4 Mind Outside Brain
Source:
Socially Extended Epistemology
Author(s):

Francis Heylighen

Shima Beigi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198801764.003.0005

We approach the problem of the extended mind from a radically non-dualist perspective. The separation between mind and matter is an artifact of the mechanistic worldview, which leaves no room for mental phenomena such as agency, intentionality, or experience. We propose to replace it by an action ontology, which conceives mind and matter as aspects of the same network of processes. By adopting the intentional stance, we interpret the catalysts of elementary reactions as agents exhibiting desires, intentions, and sensations. Autopoietic networks of reactions constitute more complex super-agents, which exhibit memory, deliberation and sense-making. In the case of social networks, individual agents coordinate their actions via the propagation of challenges. The distributed cognition that emerges cannot be situated in any individual brain. This non-dualist, holistic view extends and operationalizes process metaphysics and Eastern philosophies. It is supported by both mindfulness experiences and mathematical models of action, self-organization, and cognition.

Keywords:   non-dualism, action ontology, process metaphysics, distributed cognition, autopoietic networks

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