Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action and Cognitive Extension by Andy Clark
If there’s anything we philosophers really hate it’s an untenable dualism. Exposing untenable dualisms is a lot of what we do for a living. It’s no small job, I assure you. They (the dualisms, not the philosophers) are insidious, and they are ubiquitous; perpetual vigilance is required. I mention only a few of the dualisms whose tenability we have, at one time or other, felt called on to question: mind v. body; fact v. value; knowledge v. true belief; induction v. deduction; sensing v. perceiving; thinking v. behaving; denotation v. connotation; thought v. action; appearance v. reality . . . I could go on. It is, moreover, a mark of an untenable dualism that a philosopher who is in the grip of one is sure to think that he isn’t. In such a case, therapy can require millennia of exquisitely subtle dialectics. No wonder philosophers are paid so well.
So, for example, you might have thought that the distinction between, on the one hand, a creature’s mind and, on the other, the ‘external’ world that the creature lives in is sufficiently robust to be getting on with; and that commerce between the two, both in perception and in action, is typically ‘indirect’, where that means something like ‘mediated by thought’. But plausible as that may seem, the thesis of Andy Clark’s new book, Supersizing the Mind, is that the mind v. world dualism is untenable. […]