updates

Presented a poster at the SweCog cognitive science conference last week in Örenäs Slott, near Helsingborg, on my mind-mapping application as a practical demonstration of conceptual spaces theory.

Giving a talk tomorrow to the higher seminar in theoretical philosophy, on my extended mind argument (i.e., critics like Adams, Aizawa and Rupert rely on a clear boundary between mind and non-mind, but the boundary is only so clear as they need it to be if one takes certain, questionable starting assumptions).

Finishing (belatedly!) the conference report for ASSC-14 Toronto. I think all it needs now is approved.

Sorting out my visa status. I just need to visit the immigration board office and collect the necessary stamps and I’m good till 1 January 2012!

Continuing to proofread: an encyclopedia article on “good and good for”, and a paper on “Intuitionistic epistemic logic, Kripke models and Fitch’s paradox”.

Joel

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6 thoughts on “updates

  1. Joel,

    This all looks very interesting. Some questions:

    “…[C]ritics like Adams, Aizawa and Rupert rely on a clear boundary between mind and non-mind…”

    Have you found (or devised) a clear statement of the Extended Mind Hypothesis that does not “rely on a clear boundary between mind and non-mind”?

    “Continuing to proofread… a paper on “Intuitionistic epistemic logic, Kripke models and Fitch’s paradox”.”

    Would it be a betrayal of confidence to tell me whose paper this is? You may recall that I have done some work in this area. It’s Stjernberg, isn’t it? I should really get in touch with him if so!

    Best,

    Ron

  2. This is essentially the paper we discussed at SweCog summer school. My position, which I am aiming to defend, is that the best way of advancing a version of EMH is by showing how the boundary can and, I believe, must (in practice if not in principle) be flexible; and that a sufficiently flexible boundary is sufficient to prove his and Chalmers’ point. Consider, for example, this quote from SUPERSIZING, from which Clark proceeds to advance such an argument: “Profoundly embodied agents… are able constantly to negotiate and renegotiate the agent-world boundary itself. Although our own capacity for such renegotiation is, I believe, vastly underappreciated, it really should come as no great surprise, given the facts of biological bodily growth and change.” (p. 34)

    The feedback from the seminar today was quite useful (I think; need to let it process through, and talk to some people to follow up) and encouraging. I believe the consensus was that the content is quite good and the general argument sound but the presentation still needs major work in order to be publishable. It helped the audience (as it helped me) to hear my slideshow re-presentation of the material, which clarified at least some things they found confusing in the paper.

    I have a version of the paper as prepared for blind review, so I am sure only of the one author, who sent it to me for grammar check. I’ll check with him if he minds my sharing the authors’ names with you… and perhaps whether I can pass along the abstract as well.

    • Joel,

      You say:

      This is essentially the paper we discussed at SweCog summer school.

      Sorry, I had forgotten about that paper and discussion.

      My position, which I am aiming to defend, is that the best way of advancing a version of EMH is by showing how the boundary can and, I believe, must (in practice if not in principle) be flexible; and that a sufficiently flexible boundary is sufficient to prove his and Chalmers’ point.”

      That’s fine, but my question is: Doesn’t the assertion that the mind-world boundary is constantly being renegotiated help itself to the notion of a (clear) boundary between mind and world?

      Ron

      • By “clear”, I was speaking (somewhat sloppily, in retrospect) of something like “fixed and determinate”. Of course both sides of the debate are helping themselves to the notion of there being an identifiable boundary. One side says it’s (at least more-or-less) fixed, the other says it shifts over time. One side says it’s precisely locatable (and almost seems to take this for granted); the other side, so far as I can tell, can be agnostic even as to how precisely locatable it is relative to any particular moment or context of investigation. One side sees it strictly as an objective matter; the other is inclined to argue (certainly I read Clark/SUPERSIZING this way) that the phenomenal/subjective and the objective cannot be so neatly separated out.

      • Joel,

        I’m trying to reply to your comment of November 17th, but there is no “Reply” button next to your post, only an “Edit” button. So I hit the “Reply” button next to my comment of the 10th.

        I find what you say confusing. At first you say:

        “Of course both sides of the debate are helping themselves to the notion of there being an identifiable boundary. One side says it’s (at least more-or-less) fixed, the other says it shifts over time.”

        But in the next sentence you say the other side “can be agnostic even as to how precisely locatable it is relative to any particular moment or context of investigation”; and then “the other side is inclined to argue that the phenomenal/subjective and the objective cannot be so neatly separated out”.

        These last two construals seem to be at odds with the indented passage, above.

        Anyway, it seems there are two positions in the vicinity:

        1) The notion of a boundary between mind and world is incoherent: it is not a clear, determinate matter, even at a given time.

        2) The notion of a boundary between mind and world is coherent: At any given time it is a clear, determinate matter, but the boundary changes over time.

        The problem is that neither of these positions seem to be externalist. The first one is denying the coherence of the notion of the external; “externalism” hardly seems a good label for such a view. The second position merely states that the internal/external boundary changes over time. But surely this is a separate matter, something which cross-cuts the externalism/internalism debate? Couldn’t there be internalists who embrace 2 and externalists who deny it (even if Clark doesn’t)?

  3. Hi, sorry, just working my way back through my inbox, finally!

    I don’t see the opposition between the first statement and the last two. Combining them together and re-phrasing slightly, I would say, “of course, both sides of the debate are helping themselves to the notion of there being an identifiable boundary. One side says it’s (at least more or less) fixed; the other says it shifts over time (and may remain agnostic about how precisely it is locatable at any one point in time). One side seems to take for granted a definite binary opposition between the phenomenal/subjective and the objective; the other is inclined to argue that the phenomenal/subjective and the objective cannot be so neatly separated out.” Not sure if that helps!

    As to your two positions, I am inclined myself toward a third: “3) The notion of a boundary between mind and world is coherent, but that does not necessarily make its location a clear, determinate matter, even at a given time, *beyond a certain degree of precision*. It is also the case that the boundary shifts over time.”

    I agree that neither of those positions is externalist, but I don’t see the problem with that (for me). Although I understand Clark as arguing in one passage in Supersizing for a version of (2) or (3) — probably (2) — his arguments elsewhere set out his version of EMH as clearly (and actively) externalist. I, myself, feel no such commitment to such externalism, and indeed, am wary of the assumptions that seem to go with both internalist and externalist labels. I think externalists could, indeed, deny (2), and I see no reason that internalists could not, indeed, embrace it. Bottom line though: I am not describing myself as an externalist.

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