CFP: New Directions in the Extended Mind
Submission deadline: April 1, 2024
Where does the mind end and the rest of the world begin? According to the extended mind thesis, the answer is a bit surprising. Rather than the physical machinery of the mind localizing squarely in the brain, the extended mind thesis maintains that the mind stretches outwards, extending to encompass an agent’s body, actions, and environment.
The extended mind has sparked a heated debate. Originally, discussion focused on the tenability of the extended mind thesis itself, which was variously attacked or defended on the basis of thought experiments and specific empirical case studies (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2003; Wilson 2004). More recently, however, the debate broadened, shifting the focus towards applying the extended mind thesis to new domains. More in detail, the extended mind thesis has been applied in a variety of new philosophical debates, including those concerning affectivity (Colombetti & Roberts 2015), epistemology (Carter et al. 2018) consciousness (Ward 2012), non-human animals (Sims & Kiverstein 2022), plants (Parise et al. 2020) mechanistic explanations (Krickel 2020) and posthumanism (Farina et al. 2022). Moreover, the extended mind thesis has also spread beyond strict philosophical circles, having been applied to such diverse fields as education (Pritchard et al. 2021), mental health (Roberts et al. 2019), human-computer interactions (Smart 2021), mathematics (Vold and Schlimm 2020) and neurocomputational theories, such as predictive processing and the free-energy principle (Kirchhoff and Kiverstein 2021).
These novel developments all highlight the fecundity and ongoing significance of the extended mind thesis. Yet, these developments have been largely elaborated in an uncoordinated fashion. While understandable to an extent, one consequence of this is that it has been extremely difficult to reconstruct the ways in which the extended mind thesis has been developed and elaborated, to track the influence of each thread of development on others, to determine the success of these applications, and to predict which direction(s) the extended mind thesis might take in future.
This topical collection therefore aims to address the current situation by providing a space to weave together many of various threads of research, allowing them to constructively interact. In this way, it aims to address a number of pressing questions concerning the extended mind thesis; questions such as: how successful have the various applications of the extended mind thesis been? Can the extended mind be applied to systems other than individual human subjects, such as non-human animals, plants, or social groups? Is the extended mind thesis only a philosophical nicety, or can it fruitfully interact with the empirical sciences? And, if the extended mind has empirical relevance, how does it sit - and interact - with exciting emerging paradigms, such as Bayesian cognitive science, Large Language Models, or the Active Inference framework? How do recent applications of the extended mind thesis affect the prospects of the extended mind? Do they “feedback” on the theoretical, foundational issues concerning the very tenability of the extended mind thesis? And if so, what effects do they have? Moreover, where does the extended mind sit in the “4E” cognition movement? And how does it relate to post-cognitivist movements such as ecological (neuro)psychology, the “biogenic” approach to cognition and the various forms of enactivism? How has the debate on the extended mind historically developed, and what lies ahead? Lastly, what are the ethical implications of the extended mind thesis?
The special issue will address these questions by bringing together a variety of cutting-edge work at the intersection of philosophy of mind and the cognitive sciences, providing a forum for new insight into a topic of central interest to those working on the nature of mind and brain.
Appropriate Topics for Submission include, among others:
- Foundational issues concerning the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses, their metaphysics, and their impact on our conceptions of cognition, consciousness and affectivity
- Extended epistemology, including socially extended epistemology
- The explanatory impact of the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses in the mind sciences (broadly construed)
- Analysis of the relationship between the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses and various approaches to cognitive science, including computationalism, connectionism and post-connectionism, dynamical cognitive science, cybernetics, Bayesian approaches to cognitive science and the active inference framework
- Case studies in which one or more putative cognitive, conscious or affective extensions are described and assessed, both from an empirical and a theoretical point of view
- Empirical, conceptual and methodological reflections on the impact of the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses on various strands of biological thought, including - but not limited to - Niche Construction Theory, Developmental System Theory and neurobiological theory (including cognitive neuroscience)
- Methodological implications of the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses for the mind sciences, including experimental applications or tests of the extended mind thesis
- Investigation of the importance the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses have or may have in the humanities (broadly construed), including anthropology, sociology, and education sciences.
- The applicability of the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses to non-human subjects, including non-human animals, plants, robots and social groups; and more generally unusual applications of the extended mind thesis to agents and/or contexts that have not been previously investigated
- Ethical and social implications of the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses
- Metatheoretical reflections on the historical development of the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses, including discussion on its philosophical precursors and related ideas in non-western philosophy
- Theoretical and metatheoretical reflections on the relationship between the extended mind, extended consciousness and extended affectivity theses, “4E” cognition and other post-cognitivist approaches to the mind
The deadline for manuscript submissions is April 1st, 2024. Only original articles will be considered. Acceptance of all submissions requires positive evaluation from two independent reviewers. Word limits and other guidance conform to the journal’s general policies: https://www.springer.com/journal/11229/submission-guidelines
Submissions are to be made via: https://www.editorialmanager.com/synt/default.aspx
Guest Editors: Luke Kersten (Department of Philosophy, Universsity of Alberta); Marco Facchin (IUSS Pavia).