The Devil's in the details: Mental institutions and proper engagement


In the "Socially Extended Mind," Shaun Gallagher further develops the theory, introduced in "Mental Institutions" (. Gallagher & Crisafi, 2009), that social institutions can become part of a cognitive system. Building on first wave theories of the extended mind, Gallagher (2013) argues that just as our minds are capable of coupling with artifacts in the environment to form larger cognitive systems, our minds are also capable of coupling with social institutions. In this paper we argue that whether extending cognition in this way is fruitful comes down to the details. Systems are incredibly complex, and must be addressed at the local level where components concretely link up. Only after such work is done can we confidently claim that something as abstract as the "legal system" constitutes the mind. © 2013.

Publication Title

Cognitive Systems Research