What is Cognition, and How Could it be Extended?
OVERVIEW: Cognition is the overarching natural kind or property that distinctively contributes to the production of the proprietary phenomenon investigated by cognitive science, that is, intelligent behavior. On the ground, cognitive-scientific practice relies most fundamentally on modeling. Taken together, these two observations suggest a way to identify what it is for a process or state to be cognitive: abstract from the variety of forms of successful cognitive-scientific modeling. The central theoretical construct of cognitive science, the one common to all successful forms of cognitive-scientific modeling, is the relatively persisting, integrated system that moves through the world managing the agent's interaction with the environment when the agent behaves intelligently. I characterize the relevant form of integration more precisely, then ask (1) whether humans currently function as components in cognitive systems that include more than individual humans and (2) whether the idea of an integrated system can help us to decide whether to count as cognitive the processes occurring in creatures other than humans.
READINGS:Rupert, R. D. (2011). Cognitive systems and the supersized mind. Philosophical studies, 152(3), 427-436.
Rupert, R. D. (2009). Cognitive systems and the extended mind. Oxford University Press.
Rupert, R. (2013) Memory, Natural Kinds, and Cognitive Extension; or, Martians Don’t Remember, and Cognitive Science Is Not about Cognition, Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4, 1 (2013): 25–47