I’ve been reading a great deal recently about human cognition and the tools we use to support it. Where is the mind? In our brain, one supposes, unless it is placed in a vat, like in some scene from science fiction, viewed through Perspex, pink flesh and electrical wires trailing. That’s the identity thesis; where the brain is always to be found within the skull of the person to whom it belongs. And yet; the extended mind hypothesis holds that the mind is not to be found exclusively within the skull, but extends beyond the skin of the person, out into the world.
Opposition to cognitive enhancement still holds true; for all the resistance to drugs, and the fear of cognitive enhancement, the preference for talk therapies over chemical regulation, psychopharmacology and deep brain stimulation holds unprecedented possibilities, as yet not openly investigated. There is too much fear, an insistence on the inchoate prejudice of the internal, that the mind is to found only within the skull. What are we capable of?
New developments in cognitive science and in technology make this more of a possibility than it once was. Humans have externalized information for centuries. Now the boundaries become blurred, what will become possible?
Texts on the subject:
Fukuyama, F. (2002). Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution New York:Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Hurley, S (1988) Consciousness in Action Harvard, MA: Harvard University Press
Adams, F and Aizawa, K. (2008) The Bounds of Cognition. Malden, MA: Blackwell