Seminar “The Mark of the Mental” (PRIN)
June 16th 2020, 10 a.m.
IUSS Philosophy Seminar
“The Mark of the Mental” (PRIN)
EXTENDED MIND AND ARTIFACTUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY
As the extended mind debate came to maturation, it has conceptualized how cognitive artifacts extend various memory capacities, including working memory, prospective memory, spatial memory, and semantic memory. Surprisingly, the relation between autobiographical memory and artifacts has not received much attention in the extended mind literature. In this paper, I first distinguish between cognitive artifacts used for practical cognitive tasks and evocative objects used for remembering our personal past. I then go on to describe a number of ways in which evocative objects and our autobiographical memory are integrated into new systemic wholes, allowing us to remember our personal past in a more reliable and detailed manner. After discussing some empirical work on evocative objects and lifelogging technology, I elaborate on the dimension of autobiographical dependency, which is the degree to which we depend on an object to be able to remember a past event or experience. When this dependency is strong, we integrate information in the embodied brain and in an object to reconstruct an autobiographical memory. In such cases, the information we use to remember our personal past is distributed across embodied agents and evocative objects.