Jean GovéCorresponding authorORCID id

Distributed Cognition, Neuroprostheses and their Implications to Non-Physicalist Theories of Mind

26/1 – Spring 2021, pages 123-142
Date of online publication: 30 June 2021
Date of publication: 30 June 2021


This paper investigates the notion of ‘distributed cognition’ – the idea that entities external to one’s organic brain participate in one’s overall cognitive functioning – and the challenges it poses. Related to this is also a consideration of the ever-increasing ways in which neuroprostheses replace and functionally replicate organic parts of the brain. However, the literature surrounding such issues has tended to take an almost exclusively physicalist approach. The common assumption is that, given that non- physicalist theories (dualism, hylomorphism) postulate some form of immaterial ‘soul’, then they are immune from the challenges that these advances in cognitive science pose. The first aim of this paper, therefore, is to argue that this is not the case.

The second aim of this paper is to attempt to elucidate a route available for the non- physicalist that will allow them to accept the notion of distributed cognition. By appealing to an Aristotelian framework, I propose that the non-physicalist can accept the notion of distributed cognition by appeal to the notion of ‘unitary life’ which I introduce as well as Aristotle’s dichotomy between active and passive mind.


Cite this article

Gové, Jean. “Distributed Cognition, Neuroprostheses and their Implications to Non- Physicalist Theories of Mind.” Forum Philosophicum 26, no. 1 (2021): 123–42. doi:10.35765/forphil.2021.2601.08.


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