Andy Clark & Extended Mind

Some of his points:
  • As our use of technology increases, we are hard put to say the world stops there and the person begins here.
  • We are prejudiced as we think what matters most is what goes on inside the head.
  • Most of the ideas were never ours but evolutionary biology conspires to make us think so.
  • As technology increases, human brains must dance in greater intricacies between symbols, media, formalisms, texts, speech, instruments, and culture. (The mind dances in extension with the world.)
  • For these and other reasons, to assume a biologically fixed "human nature" may be a mistake. Our nature is shaped to varying degrees by the brain's cognitive activities with something as simple as the words or numbers we jot on a sheet of paper. The words, the numbers, the paper are themselves technological instruments. They exemplify mind extended into the world.

    "My body is an electronic virgin. I incorporate no silicon chips, no retinal or cochlear implants, no pacemaker. I don't even wear glasses (though I do wear clothes). But I am slowly becoming more and more a Cyborg. So are you. Pretty soon, and still without the need for wires, surgery or bodily alterations, we shall be kin to the Terminator, to Eve 8, to Cable...just fill in your favorite fictional Cyborg. Perhaps we already are. For we shall be Cyborgs not in the merely superficial sense of combining flesh and wires, but in the more profound sense of being human-technology symbionts: thinking and reasoning systems whose minds and selves are spread across biological brain and non-biological circuitry.

    This may sound like futuristic mumbo-jumbo, and I happily confess that I wrote the preceding paragraph with an eye to catching your attention, even if only by the somewhat dangerous route of courting your immediate disapproval! But I do believe that it is the plain and literal truth. I believe, to be clear, that it is above all a scientific truth, a reflection of some deep and important facts about (a whiff of paradox here?) our special, and distinctively human nature. And certainly, I don't think this tendency towards cognitive hybridization is a modern development. Rather, it is an aspect of our humanity which is as basic and ancient as the use of speech, and which has been extending its territory ever since. More

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