Supersizing the Mind (Book Review)

Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension by Andy Clark

1. The Active Body

I think a lot of us hold a general sense that there is something called embodied intelligence. In my case, I know I hold a somewhat limited idea of what this means. I remmeber reading that there are feedback mechanisms in the nervous system for some cognition that is not situated in the cerebral cortex, or is perhaps involved in bundling up the information in a more meaningful way before sending it on up to the brain. In my mind this was just like any other neural network process where there are a bunch of weights that have been tuned overtime through experience, and that is the understanding I walked into this chapter holding. But, fairly quickly Andy has got me thinking about the material properties of the body itself and how this relates to the environment as bounding the broader solution space of all possibility down to something smaller, and how perhaps then those material realities themselves are somehow participating in the thinking of any selected action that body will perform in the space. Hmmmm….interesting.