Philosopher Jerry Fodor has written a sceptical and entertaining review of a new book on the extended mind hypothesis – the idea that that we use technology to offload our mental processes and that such tools can be thought of as extensions of the mind itself.
It’s a development of the original idea, described in Clark and Chalmer’s 1998 article called ‘The Extended Mind’, and it’s clear that Jerry Fodor is not a fan.
However, it’s probably true to say that Fodor starts from a definition of the mind which already excludes any form of information recording technology, be it a computer or a notepad, whereas the extended mind argument argues that we should rethink exactly these sorts of definitions.
The review gets a bit muddy in the middle as Fodor tries unsuccessfully to explain the difference between the confusingly similar but subtly different philosophical concepts of intentionality and intensionality in a paragraph but the article remains enormously good fun throughout.
Link to London Review of Books article ‘Where is my mind?’ (thanks Paul!)