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“I Is Someone Else”: Constituting the Extended Mind’s Fourth Wave, with Hegel

8 July 2016


We seek to constitute the extended mind’s fourth wave, socially distributed group cognition, and we do so by thinking with Hegel. The extended mind theory’s first wave invokes the parity principle, which maintains that processes that occur external to the organism’s skin should be considered mental if they are regarded as mental when they occur inside the organism. The second wave appeals to the complementarity principle, which claims that what is crucial is that these processes together constitute a cognitive system. The first two waves assume that cognitive systems have well-defined territories or boundaries, and that internal and external processes do not switch location. The third wave rejects these assumptions, holding instead that internal processes are not privileged, and internal and external processes can switch, and that processes can be distributed among individuals. The fourth wave would advocate socially distributed group cognition. Groups are deterritorialized collective agents; they are ineliminatively and irreducibly real, they have mental states. Individuals constitute groups, but groups also constitute individuals. What counts as an individual and a group is a function of the level of analysis. And they are conflicted.


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