Cognitive externalism meets bounded rationality

Eric Arnau, Saray Ayala, Thomas Sturm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


When proponents of cognitive externalism (CE) turn to empirical studies in cognitive science to put the framework to use and to assess its explanatory success, they typically refer to perception, memory, or motor coordination. In contrast, not much has been said about reasoning. One promising avenue to explore in this respect is the theory of bounded rationality (BR). To clarify the relationship between CE and BR, we criticize Andy Clark's understanding of BR, as well as his claim that BR does not fit his version of CE. We then propose and defend a version of CE-"scaffolded cognition"-that is not committed to constitutive claims about the mind, but still differs from mainstream internalism. Finally, we analyze BR from our own CE perspective, thereby clarifying its vague appeals to the environment, and argue that cognitive internalism cannot explain important aspects of the BR program. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-64
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Bounded Rationality
  • Extended Cognition
  • Heuristics
  • Scaffolded Cognition


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