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James on Experience and the Extended Mind

James on Experience and the Extended Mind Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 3, No. 1 (June 2006), 165­176 Editions Rodopi © 2006 William James's characterization of consciousness as a selecting agency can be used to develop and defend an externalist view of mind. The mind ­ including the content of phenomenal consciousness ­ is in an important sense distributed beyond the skin and skull of the subject, out into the world of people and things. Moreover, conscious experience is an action, and not simply something that happens to us. Consciousness, perception, and experience are activities ­ in other words, things that we do. 1. Introduction James's characterization of consciousness as a "selecting agency" can be used to develop and defend an externalist view of the phenomenal content of experience. An externalist view of phenomenal content urges that not all mental phenomena are localized inside the head of the conscious subject. In a very real sense, the mind is extended beyond the skin and skull, out into the world of people and things. I will argue that this model of the extended mind is coextensive with James's insistence that experience is not something that simply happens to us, but rather something that we do. Conscious experience is thus http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

James on Experience and the Extended Mind

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 3 (1): 165 – Apr 21, 2006

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2006 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-90000038
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 3, No. 1 (June 2006), 165­176 Editions Rodopi © 2006 William James's characterization of consciousness as a selecting agency can be used to develop and defend an externalist view of mind. The mind ­ including the content of phenomenal consciousness ­ is in an important sense distributed beyond the skin and skull of the subject, out into the world of people and things. Moreover, conscious experience is an action, and not simply something that happens to us. Consciousness, perception, and experience are activities ­ in other words, things that we do. 1. Introduction James's characterization of consciousness as a "selecting agency" can be used to develop and defend an externalist view of the phenomenal content of experience. An externalist view of phenomenal content urges that not all mental phenomena are localized inside the head of the conscious subject. In a very real sense, the mind is extended beyond the skin and skull, out into the world of people and things. I will argue that this model of the extended mind is coextensive with James's insistence that experience is not something that simply happens to us, but rather something that we do. Conscious experience is thus

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2006

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