Extended circularity: A new puzzle for extended cognition

J. Adam Carter, Jesper Kallestrup

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


Mainstream epistemology has typically presumed a traditional picture of the metaphysics of mind, whereby cognitive processes (e.g., memory storage and retrieval) play out within the bounds of skull and skin. Contemporary thinking in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science decreasingly favors this simple “intracranial” picture. Likewise, proponents of active externalist approaches to the mind–e.g., the hypothesis of extended cognition (HEC)–have largely proceeded without asking what epistemological ramifications should arise once cognition is understood as criss-crossing between brain and world. This chapter aims to motivate a puzzle that arises once these thought strands are juxtaposed, and highlights a condition of epistemological adequacy that should be accepted by proponents of extended cognition. Once this condition is motivated, the chapter demonstrates how attempts to satisfy it apparently inevitably devolve into a novel epistemic circularity. Eventually, proponents of extended cognition have a novel epistemological puzzle on their hands.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExtended Epistemology
EditorsJ Adam Carter, Andy Clark, Jesper Kallestrup, S Orestis Palermos, D Pritchard
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780198769811
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Epistemic circularity
  • Epistemology
  • Extended cognition
  • HEC
  • Memory
  • Philosophy


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