•  92
    Materialised identities: Cultural identity, collective memory, and artifacts
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1-17. forthcoming.
    This essay outlines one way to conceptualise the relation between cultural identity, collective memory, and artifacts. It starts by characterising the notion of cultural identity as our membership to cultural groups and briefly explores the relation between cultural and narrative identity (section 2). Next, it presents how human memory is conceptualised on an individual and collective level (section 3) and then distinguishes between small-scale and large-scale collective memory (section 4).…Read more
  •  245
    The primary goal of this essay is to provide a comprehensive overview and analysis of the various relations between material artifacts and the embodied mind. A secondary goal of this essay is to identify some of the trends in the design and use of artifacts. First, based on their functional properties, I identify four categories of artifacts co-opted by the embodied mind, namely (1) embodied artifacts, (2) perceptual artifacts, (3) cognitive artifacts, and (4) affective artifacts. These categori…Read more
  •  248
    Extended mind and artifactual autobiographical memory
    Mind and Language 36 1-15. 2020.
    In this paper, I describe how artifacts and autobiographical memory are integrated into new systemic wholes, allowing us to remember our personal past in a more reliable and detailed manner. After discussing some empirical work on lifelogging technology, I elaborate on the dimension of autobiographical dependency, which is the degree to which we depend on an object to be able to remember a personal experience. When this dependency is strong, we integrate information in the embodied brain and in …Read more
  •  293
    Memories of our personal past are the building blocks of our narrative identity. So, when we depend on objects and other people to remember and construct our personal past, our narrative identity is distributed across our embodied brains and an ecology of environmental resources. This paper uses a cognitive niche construction approach to conceptualise how we engineer our memory ecology and construct our distributed narrative identities. It does so by identifying three types of niche construction…Read more
  •  353
    Varieties of the extended self
    Consciousness and Cognition 85 103001. 2020.
    This article provides an overview and analysis of recent work on the extended self, demonstrating that the boundaries of selves are fluid, shifting across biological, artifactual, and sociocultural structures. First, it distinguishes the notions of minimal self, person, and narrative self. Second, it surveys how philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists argue that embodiment, cognition, emotion, consciousness, and moral character traits can be extended and what that implies for the b…Read more
  •  368
    How navigation systems transform epistemic virtues: Knowledge, issues and solutions
    with Alexander Gillett
    Cognitive Systems Research 56 (56): 36-49. 2019.
    In this paper, we analyse how GPS-based navigation systems are transforming some of our intellectual virtues and then suggest two strategies to improve our practices regarding the use of such epistemic tools. We start by outlining the two main approaches in virtue epistemology, namely virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. We then discuss how navigation systems can undermine five epistemic virtues, namely memory, perception, attention, intellectual autonomy, and intellectual carefulness. …Read more
  •  425
    Memory is everywhere in Blade Runner 2049. From the dead tree that serves as a memorial and a site of remembrance (“Who keeps a dead tree?”), to the ‘flashbulb’ memories individuals hold about the moment of the ‘blackout’, when all the electronic stores of data were irretrievably erased (“everyone remembers where they were at the blackout”). Indeed, the data wiped out in the blackout itself involves a loss of memory (“all our memory bearings from the time, they were all damaged in the blackout”)…Read more
  •  41
    The narrative self, distributed memory, and evocative objects
    Philosophical Studies 175 (8): 1829-1849. 2018.
    In this article, I outline various ways in which artifacts are interwoven with autobiographical memory systems and conceptualize what this implies for the self. I first sketch the narrative approach to the self, arguing that who we are as persons is essentially our life story, which, in turn, determines our present beliefs and desires, but also directs our future goals and actions. I then argue that our autobiographical memory is partly anchored in our embodied interactions with an ecology of ar…Read more
  •  791
    In the history of external information systems, the World Wide Web presents a significant change in terms of the accessibility and amount of available information. Constant access to various kinds of online information has consequences for the way we think, act and remember. Philosophers and cognitive scientists have recently started to examine the interactions between the human mind and the Web, mainly focussing on the way online information influences our biological memory systems. In this art…Read more
  •  1962
    Alongside existing research into the social, political and economic impacts of the Web, there is a need to study the Web from a cognitive and epistemic perspective. This is particularly so as new and emerging technologies alter the nature of our interactive engagements with the Web, transforming the extent to which our thoughts and actions are shaped by the online environment. Situated and ecological approaches to cognition are relevant to understanding the cognitive significance of the Web beca…Read more
  •  3684
    This paper applies a virtue epistemology approach to using the Internet, as to improve our information-seeking behaviours. Virtue epistemology focusses on the cognitive character of agents and is less concerned with the nature of truth and epistemic justification as compared to traditional analytic epistemology. Due to this focus on cognitive character and agency, it is a fruitful but underexplored approach to using the Internet in an epistemically desirable way. Thus, the central question in th…Read more
  •  1210
    The narrative self, distributed memory, and evocative objects
    Philosophical Studies 175 (8): 1829-1849. 2018.
    In this article, I outline various ways in which artifacts are interwoven with autobiographical memory systems and conceptualize what this implies for the self. I first sketch the narrative approach to the self, arguing that who we are as persons is essentially our (unfolding) life story, which, in turn, determines our present beliefs and desires, but also directs our future goals and actions. I then argue that our autobiographical memory is partly anchored in our embodied interactions with an e…Read more
  •  514
    Bibliometric mapping of computer and information ethics
    with Jeroen van den Hoven, Nees Jan van Eck, and Jan van den Berg
    Ethics and Information Technology 13 (3): 241-249. 2011.
    This paper presents the first bibliometric mapping analysis of the field of computer and information ethics (C&IE). It provides a map of the relations between 400 key terms in the field. This term map can be used to get an overview of concepts and topics in the field and to identify relations between information and communication technology concepts on the one hand and ethical concepts on the other hand. To produce the term map, a data set of over thousand articles published in leading journals …Read more
  •  835
    Dimensions of integration in embedded and extended cognitive systems
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3): 577-598. 2015.
    The complementary properties and functions of cognitive artifacts and other external resources are integrated into the human cognitive system to varying degrees. The goal of this paper is to develop some of the tools to conceptualize this complementary integration between agents and artifacts. It does so by proposing a multidimensional framework, including the dimensions of information flow, reliability, durability, trust, procedural transparency, informational transparency, individualization, a…Read more
  •  1336
    The internet, cognitive enhancement, and the values of cognition
    Minds and Machines 26 (4): 389-407. 2016.
    This paper has two distinct but related goals: (1) to identify some of the potential consequences of the Internet for our cognitive abilities and (2) to suggest an approach to evaluate these consequences. I begin by outlining the Google effect, which (allegedly) shows that when we know information is available online, we put less effort into storing that information in the brain. Some argue that this strategy is adaptive because it frees up internal resources which can then be used for other cog…Read more
  •  341
    Issues, concepts and methods relating to the identification of the ethics of emerging ICTs
    with Bernd Stahl, Philippe Goujon, Catherine Flick, Jeroen van den Hoven, Kutoma Wakunuma, Veikko Ikonen, and Michael Rader
    Communications of the IIMA 10 (1): 33-43. 2010.
    Ethical issues of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important because they can have significant effects on human liberty, happiness, their ability to lead a good life. They are also of functional interest because they can determine whether technologies are used and whether their positive potential can unfold. For these reasons policy makers are interested in finding out what these issues are and how they can be addressed. The best way of creating ICT policy that is sensitive …Read more
  •  591
    Defending extension theory: A response to Kiran and Verbeek
    Philosophy and Technology 25 (1): 121-128. 2012.
    In a recent publication in this journal, Asle Kiran and Peter-Paul Verbeek (hereafter K&V) argue that extension theory and the notion of trust it implies are flawed. In this commentary, I defend extension theory against their critique. I first briefly introduce extension theory, then reconstruct K&V’s five arguments against extension theory and demonstrate that four of their five arguments are misplaced.
  •  1056
    This paper explores the implications of extended and distributed cognition theory for our notions of personal identity. On an extended and distributed approach to cognition, external information is under certain conditions constitutive of memory. On a narrative approach to personal identity, autobiographical memory is constitutive of our diachronic self. In this paper, I bring these two approaches together and argue that external information can be constitutive of one’s autobiographical memory a…Read more
  •  1889
    The metaphysics of cognitive artifacts
    Philosophical Explorations 19 (1): 78-93. 2016.
    This article looks at some of the metaphysical properties of cognitive artefacts. It first identifies and demarcates the target domain by conceptualizing this class of artefacts as a functional kind. Building on the work of Beth Preston, a pluralist notion of functional kind is developed, one that includes artefacts with proper functions and system functions. Those with proper functions have a history of cultural selection, whereas those with system functions are improvised uses of initially non…Read more
  •  48
    Identifying the ethics of emerging information and communication technologies: An essay on issues, concepts and method
    with Bernd Carsten Stahl, Philippe Goujon, Catherine Flick, Jeroen van den Hoven, Kutoma Wakunuma, Veikko Ikonen, and Michael Rader
    International Journal of Technoethics 1 (4): 20-38. 2010.
    Ethical issues of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important because they can have significant effects on human liberty, happiness, and people’s ability to lead a good life. They are also of functional interest because they can determine whether technologies are used and whether their positive potential can unfold. For these reasons, policy makers are interested in finding out what these issues are and how they can be addressed. The best way of creating ICT policy that is se…Read more
  •  350
    Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are an emerging and converging technology that translates the brain activity of its user into command signals for external devices, ranging from motorized wheelchairs, robotic hands, environmental control systems, and computer applications. In this paper I functionally decompose BCI systems and categorize BCI applications with similar functional properties into three categories, those with (1) motor, (2) virtual, and (3) linguistic applications. I then analyse th…Read more
  •  1420
    Extended mind and cognitive enhancement: Moral aspects of cognitive artifacts
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (1): 17-32. 2017.
    This article connects philosophical debates about cognitive enhancement and situated cognition. It does so by focusing on moral aspects of enhancing our cognitive abilities with the aid of external artifacts. Such artifacts have important moral dimensions that are addressed neither by the cognitive enhancement debate nor situated cognition theory. In order to fill this gap in the literature, three moral aspects of cognitive artifacts are singled out: their consequences for brains, cognition, and…Read more
  •  5945
    The Cognitive Ecology of the Internet
    In Stephen Cowley & Frederic Vallée-Tourangeau (eds.), Cognition Beyond the Brain: Computation, Interactivity and Human Artifice (2nd ed.), Springer. pp. 251-282. 2017.
    In this chapter, we analyze the relationships between the Internet and its users in terms of situated cognition theory. We first argue that the Internet is a new kind of cognitive ecology, providing almost constant access to a vast amount of digital information that is increasingly more integrated into our cognitive routines. We then briefly introduce situated cognition theory and its species of embedded, embodied, extended, distributed and collective cognition. Having thus set the stage, we beg…Read more
  •  1099
    A taxonomy of cognitive artifacts: Function, information, and categories
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3): 465-481. 2013.
    The goal of this paper is to develop a systematic taxonomy of cognitive artifacts, i.e., human-made, physical objects that functionally contribute to performing a cognitive task. First, I identify the target domain by conceptualizing the category of cognitive artifacts as a functional kind: a kind of artifact that is defined purely by its function. Next, on the basis of their informational properties, I develop a set of related subcategories in which cognitive artifacts with similar properties c…Read more
  •  691
    Distributed cognition and distributed morality: Agency, artifacts and systems
    Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (2): 431-448. 2017.
    There are various philosophical approaches and theories describing the intimate relation people have to artifacts. In this paper, I explore the relation between two such theories, namely distributed cognition and distributed morality theory. I point out a number of similarities and differences in these views regarding the ontological status they attribute to artifacts and the larger systems they are part of. Having evaluated and compared these views, I continue by focussing on the way cognitive …Read more
  •  620
    What are the possible varieties of cognition-artifact relations, and which dimensions are relevant for exploring these varieties? This question is answered in two steps. First, three levels of functional and informational integration between human agent and cognitive artifact are distinguished. These levels are based on the degree of interactivity and direction of information flow, and range from monocausal and bicausal relations to continuous reciprocal causation. In these levels there is a hie…Read more
  •  477
    Researchers in the biological and biomedical sciences, particularly those working in laboratories, use a variety of artifacts to help them perform their cognitive tasks. This paper analyses the relationship between researchers and cognitive artifacts in terms of integration. It first distinguishes different categories of cognitive artifacts used in biological practice on the basis of their informational properties. This results in a novel classification of scientific instruments, conducive to an…Read more