Embodiment and Human Reasoning

Tim van Gelder
Department of Philosophy
University of Melbourne
Parkville VIC 3052 Australia

This is the abstract of a talk prepared for the International interdisciplinary seminar on new robotics, evolution and embodied cognition (IISREEC).12th to 15th November 2002, Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract: Andy Clark has recently been describing humans as "natural born cyborgs" whose higher thinking achievements are always and essentially based on interaction with suitable external equipment; that equipment becomes an integral part of an extended mind. The 21st century will see dramatic changes in the nature of the equipment we use in engaging with complex reasoning. These changes will not only boost our capabilities; they will be transforming our minds, and to that extent, human nature. In this presentation I will review work we have been doing designing equipment for general informal reasoning. I will demonstrate how human reasoning can be both enhanced and augmented by interaction with computer-supported argument mapping (CSAM) systems. Interaction with such systems enhances human reasoning by producing permanent changes in our unaided reasoning capacities; it augments human reasoning by increasing our capacity to process complex arguments. New levels of reasoning performance are possible but only insofar as we take full advantage of both our biological embodiment and embeddness in suitable new technologies.

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For more information contact Luis Rocha at rocha@lanl.gov
Last Modified: December 17, 2002