Re-Thinking the Extended Mind: Moving Beyond the Machinery
Proponents of the Extended Mind Thesis (EMT) argue that the mind literally extends into the world because mental states literally extend into the world. But the arguments presented in favour of these claims are compatible with a much weaker conclusion, expressed as the Extended Machinery of Mind Thesis (EMMT) that secures only the extension of the enablers of mental states. What is required is a mark of the mental that can settle the constitutive versus enabling issue. Both sides of the debate accept non-derived content as a necessary condition on a state‘s being mental but this cannot settle the constitution versus enabling issue, meaning the debate has stagnated because there are no decisive moves left to make. Thus, the strongest move for the EM theorist to make is to reject non-derived content as the mark of the mental and seek an alternative. Because enactivism rejects the representational view of mind then if it can be made to work as an account of mentality it offers promise with regard to the formation of a new mark of the mental on which a genuinely interesting EMT can be based.