This post duplicates a précis and audio interview published at the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.
Audio available here: http://social-epistemology.com/2014/01/20/extending-knowledge-and-the-extended-mind-gregory-sandstrom/
The interview focuses on the Extended Mind Thesis (EMT ), that was featured in no less than six presentations at the conference. It starts by hearing about the historical contact by Theiner and Palermos with the EMT of Andy Clark and David Chalmers. The main topics of the interview are cognitive science, psychology, philosophy of mind, science and technology studies, epistemology and the relevance of the EMT in interdisciplinary collaboration.
Theiner mentions that he had some hesitations at first to the EMT, which he learned about in a presentation by Andy Clark. At the end of the talk, Clark brought up René Descartes’ view of trying to empower the human mind by ‘shrinking’ it into something immaterial; “to save it from materiality” instead of allowing it to be ‘extended.’ Yet Theiner believes that instead of shrinking our minds down to just the material level, it is rather the extension of our minds and cognition into the world, into the physical, social and cultural environment that makes human beings special.
In a previous entry I wrote about ‘non-natural’ and ‘extra-natural’ things as if they pose a challenge to the phrase ‘the nature of’ (tNo). This perhaps needs some clarification, especially for those who have come to embrace the ideology of ‘naturalism’ and the view that there is nothing ‘real’ other than that which is ‘natural.’
Showing my position upfront, I admit that I am not an ideological ‘naturalist,’ nor am I a ‘naturalist’ in the sense of that being my professional occupation (as Charles Darwin was on the Beagle or David Attenborough is today). That is to say, there are (at least) two distinct meanings of ‘naturalist’: 1) as an ideology (i.e. ‘naturalism’), and 2) as an occupation or vocation (i.e. working as a ‘naturalist’). What this means is that my academic activities are focussed on things other than purely ‘nature,’ except for the rather ambiguous concept duo of ‘human nature,’ which is of course part of the human-social sciences and humanities.
This short message contends that one way to articulate the distinctiveness of the human-social sciences in contrast to the natural-physical sciences is to replace or substitute (or simply provide a suitable alternative to) the phrase ‘the nature of’ with the phrase ‘the character of’ (tCo). This linguistic move displays a ‘personalist’ instead of a ‘naturalist’ approach. But why should others adapt their language this way and for what purpose?
Continue reading ‘On ‘the Character of’ (tCo) vs. ‘the Nature of’ (tNo) – A Social-Realist Account*’
This post consists of Chapter 2 from my masters thesis at the Free University of Amsterdam, “Evolution, Extension and Intelligent Design: A 21st Century Tri-Fecta,” completed and defended in 2004. It is therefore outdated, given that we are already 9 years removed and the IDM has morphed since then. Nevertheless, it is posted here to provide some background to my work on human extension as an alternative to evolutionism, creationism and Intelligent Design Theory. Notably, since then I’ve accepted the distinction that Owen Gingerich and others make between Uppercase Intelligent Design Theory and lowercase ‘intelligent design’ or ‘design arguments.’
The Intelligent Design Movement: Revolution or Repatriation?
“Molecular machines appear to look designed because they really are designed.”
– Michael Behe
This chapter analyzes the (post-)modern social movement that has begun with the concept-duo of intelligent design (ID). In the most ambitious words of one of the intelligent design movement’s (IDM’s) leaders, William Dembski, ID is named as ‘The Bridge’ between Science and Theology: “If you’re going to reject a reigning paradigm,” he explains, “you have to have a new improved paradigm with which to replace it. Naturalistic evolution is the reigning paradigm.” (Intelligent Design: The Bridge, 1999, 119) Needless to say, Dembski believes the concepts of intelligent design represent an academic replacement for naturalistic evolution compatible with both science and theology. Given these outspoken relative sentiments about ID theory, can and should we believe that the IDM’s scientific revolutionary declaration is practically possible? In this section we will make a brief inquiry on this topic.
Continue reading ‘The Intelligent Design Movement: Revolution or Repatriation?’
One doesn’t need to read far into ‘Intelligent Design’ (Big-ID) theory literature to discover the Intelligent Design Movement’s (IDM’s) refusal to study the supposed ‘Designer(s)’ of that which is said by IDists to be ‘Designed.’ This fact lowers the explanatory power of their theory immensely, almost entirely, even if Big-IDists don’t wish to acknowledge it for ideological purposes.
An easy way to highlight this challenge is to speak of Big-ID and small-id, as I’ve done on this blog already. Discussion about this has also taken place in commentary at Uncommon Descent (UD), one of the IDM’s most popular blogs. Unfortunately, no consensus has yet been reached and thus no clarity to stop the waffling back and forth between the two terms. Likewise, no attempt to sort out when or even if capitalisation of ‘Intelligent Design’ is justified or if non-capitalisation of ‘intelligent design’ is always preferred or if the two linguistic expressions carry the same meaning has been made at UD. This could be done simply by dedicating a single thread to the issue. But for ideological purposes, this is likely not going to happen.
Continue reading ‘Big-ID vs. small-id – Flip-Flopping IDM-Style’