Transactive Memories reconstructed


2012-05-25-huebner-tOn Friday, May 25th, 3p.m., Bryce Huebner, Philosophy department, Georgetown University, will give at UQAM (Room W-5215) a talk entitled "Transactive Memories reconstructed". A cocktail will be served after the conference. Note that this is not our usual room (Pavillon Thérèse-Casgrain Salle W-5215, 5e étage, 455, boulevard René-Lévesque Est, Métro Berri-UQAM)

Abstract: Andy Clark has often appealed to a growing range of empirical data supporting the claim that cognition relies on extracranial features of the world. I resist this claim, and argue that there is something deeply amiss in existing arguments for extended cognition: they do not provided an empirically plausible strategy for distinguishing between cognitive systems, the environments that they inhabit, and the information that they exploit. In solving this 'boundary demarcation problem', I argue, we must focus on the integration of computational mechanisms, and then explain how an interfaced network of components yield robust patterns of system-level goal-directed behavior. This perspective can help us to see why most appeals to extended cognition are theoretically and empirically implausible; but I argue that it also helps to demonstrate the ways in which mechanisms that cross-cut bodily boundaries can be interfaced to produce a cognitive system. Specifically, I argue that the transactive memory systems—when they are properly grounded by an account of the neurological mechanisms that facilitate episodic remembering—constitute a case of genuinely extended cognition.