Sunday, 2 October 2011

The New Mind: Thinking beyond the head

Co-authored with Riccardo Manzotti, AI & Society (in press)

Throughout much of the modern period the human mind has been regarded as a property of the brain, and therefore something confined to the inside of the head — a view commonly known as 'internalism'. But recent works in cognitive science, philosophy, and anthropology, as well as certain trends in the development of technology, suggest an emerging view of the mind as a process not confined to the brain but spread through the body and world — an outlook covered by a family of views labeled 'externalism'. In this paper we will suggest there is now sufficient momentum in favour of externalism of various kinds to mark a historical shift in the way the mind is understood. We dub this emerging externalist tendency the 'New Mind'. Key properties of the New Mind will be summarized and some of its implications considered in areas such as art and culture, technology, and the science of consciousness.