The extended mind

A Clark, D Chalmers
2007 Language Sciences   unpublished
Manuscrítica § n. 28 • 2015 revista de crítica genética eManuscripts in progress: establishing a digital infrastructure for Joyce's extended mind at work Ateliê 88 II. Modernism and the (extended) mind eManuscripts in progress establishing a digital infrastructure for Joyce's extended mind at work Tom De Keyser 1 Modernist literature has long been conceived as "internalist" literature. Even the Modernists themselves seemed to embrace this idea and eagerly claimed to "look within." Virginia
more » ... hin." Virginia Woolf's own rhetoric in this context is striking. An internalist approach to literature would represent life in a much more exciting way. 2 According to Woolf, the mind's multitude of impressions form an "incessant shower of innumerable atoms" that shape the "luminous halo" that life really is. 3 Redirecting the focus from the external world to the internal world of the mind therefore makes literature a lot more interesting. Nowadays however, analysing modernist texts as inward-looking seems to have become a "critical commonplace" in the study of literary modernism. 4 While Woolf's work often thematises the workings of the mind, recent criticism has made clear that this thematisation may not involve an inward turn at all. What Woolf did in, for instance, "The Mark on the Wall" is not simply look within, but describe a mind that is in constant interaction with the outside world. Cognitive philosophers have investigated the nuances of this interaction and have called it "enactivism, " "cognitive integration, " or "extended mind". 5 In my research project, I will argue that manuscripts, notebooks, and external sources are part and parcel of a writer's extended mind at work. Specifically, I will apply the extended mind hypothesis to literature by visualising James Joyce's writing process on the basis of his personal libraries, notebooks, and manuscripts of Finnegans Wake. I believe that this application will create opportunities to investigate how the extended mind influences the evocations of characters' minds. I will here provide an overview of how to approach these issues in the coming years. It will be made clear that visualising an extended mind at work necessarily relies on the study of writing processes, or genetic criticism. It is one of the major building blocks in this project, together with the recent developments in cognitive science. This paper attempts to illustrate the importance of these building blocks. "Whoevery heard of such a think?"-enactivism and the extended mind The Cartesian model of the mind has become increasingly implausible to a number of cognitive scientists. A growing strand in cognitive science seeks to puncture the conviction that the mind is essentially "inside, " and therefore contrasted with an "outside." The enactive approach addresses this head-on. The notion was first introduced into cognitive science by Varela, Thompson, and Rosch (1991) in their book The embodied mind. They argue that "cognition is not the representation of a pregiven world by a pregiven mind but is rather the enactment of a world and a mind on the basis of a history of the variety of actions that a being in the world performs". 6 Two aspects stand out in this argument. First, the mind does not necessarily create a representation of reality. We do not find ourselves in a "pre-given" world by means
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