Phenomenal Intentionality Meets the Extended Mind

Terry Horgan, Uriah Kriegel, Sherwood J. B. Sugden
2008 The Monist  
The Monist 91 (2008): 353-380 Introduction Over the last quarter of the twentieth century, an orthodoxy of sorts had gelled in the philosophy of mind around a kind of psychological externalism, the idea that some mental states individuate sensitively to extra-cranial factors. More recently, two trends of thought have departed from this young orthodoxy in opposite directions. On the one hand, a cluster of ideas captured in such phrases as "extended mind," "embodied cognition," and "enactive
more » ... iousness" proclaim to go further in externalizing the mind; call this the extended mind outlook. On the other hand, a constellation of ideas surrounding the notion of "phenomenal intentionality" has ventured to roll back some of the most important aspects of psychological externalism; call this the phenomenal intentionality outlook. In this paper, we examine the relationship between these two opposing trends. Both of us are on record defending the second. 1 Here, we will argue that the phenomenal intentionality outlook can accommodate the letter of the so-called extended mind hypothesis, while utterly renouncing the spirit with which it is often embraced, thus neutralizing the alleged philosophical significance of the extended mind hypothesis. The purpose of this exercise is to show that there is nothing in the letter of the extended mind hypothesis that undermines a more traditional, strongly internalist, broadly Cartesian picture of the mind. The extended mind hypothesis is, to that extent, much ado about relatively little. In §1, we explicate the extended mind's letter and spirit, as we conceive of them. In §2, we introduce the main tenets of the phenomenal intentionality outlook, and in §3 we elaborate on one key tenet. In §4, we show how this key tenet drives a wedge between 2 the letter and spirit of the extended mind. In §5, we consider and respond to a natural objection to our argument from the previous section. We conclude that since the tenets of the phenomenal intentionality outlook jointly constitute a strongly internalist picture of the mind, and since these tenets are not themselves plausibly threatened by the burgeoning body of work conducted in the name of the extended mind, the extended mind hypothesis comports smoothly with a strongly internalist picture of the mind.
doi:10.5840/monist20089128 fatcat:vq5cyx5vh5artlrr7kjsaemeti