Title: The Over-Extended Mind: The Political Economy of 4E Cognition Proposal reference number: SS04 Supervisory team: Dr. Sean Watson & Dr. Darian Meacham Abstracts: Recent developments in the philosophy of mind have proposed a new and original challenge to the notion of individual autonomy. They have also provided the opportunity for fruitful dialogue with a number of other philosophical and scientific subfields. ‘Extended Mind Theory’ (Clark and Chalmers, 1998) and its variants (e.g. Wheeler, 2005; Clark, 2008; Menary, 2010) make the claim that the mind is not limited to the skull-and-skin framework that has set the agenda in the field for centuries. Instead of looking exclusively ‘internally’ (e.g. at the neurology of our brains), these positions argue that a more comprehensive understanding of our cognitive capacities requires the interrogation of the human being’s technological and cultural milieu, including political and cultural institutions (Gallagher and Crisafi 2009). There is now a thriving research programme around what is referred to as 4E cognition (extended, embodied, enactive and ecological). The hypothesis of the extended mind is perhaps common sense. Our memories have become stored in hard drives and storage clouds, our experiences are immediately captured and shared all over the planet, our conceptions of the world are mediated through digital or paper-based news outlets (Sparrow, Lui and Wegner 2011). What has not been adequately explored is the political and economic dimensions of 4E cognition. Many of the forms through which mental processes are extended (e.g. the internet, digital media) are under private, corporate or governmental control. Our research questions are: Is the character and structure of our mental processes subject to political and economic forces? If so what are the consequences? How does this impact the way that we think about political autonomy, mental illness, what it means to be a political and social actor, and the nature of mind?