Thursday, August 1, 2013

Externalizing thought

Many of us believe that a certain amount of our thinking actually takes place outside of our bodies (see, for example, Andy Clark's Supersizing the Mind, Oxford U. Press, 2010).  If thought is composed of the processes outlined in my Sept. 29, 2010 blog (or at my website,, under cognitive scientist, theory of thought and mind) then the most obvious example might be externalization of memory, beginning with writing and diagraming.  With the advent of the internet as a memory bank some substantial organization of these memories is also being done for us as well as some automatic indexing.  Web search algorithms also supplement our own internal memory search procedures.  Our use of calculators (and computers) externalizes what was once internalized mathematics.  Use of "creativity machines" (see my paper in the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, vol. 102, page 32, 1999) would be a further example as would image manipulation software,  various automatic deduction systems/ automatic theorem provers, forecasting software,  etc.  It would seem that externalized thought is becoming more common.

No comments:

Post a Comment