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have been regarded as either being conscious or being at the heart of
consciousness:
r bodily sensations, particularly the feelings one has through the senses
of touch or proprioception
r pain, particularly intense or acute pain
r visual experience, particularly that of color
r higher-order cognition, cognition with mental states as their objects
r attention, particularly that directed at aspects of one™s experience of
the world
r introspection, being re¬‚ection of some sort on one™s own mental life,
including one™s self
Specifying the relationship between any of these phenomena, as well as
how each is to be understood “ what processes each involves, what is essen-
tial to each, what role each plays in consciousness “ takes one immediately
into the various debates over consciousness. I shall proceed by focusing
on particular phenomena on this list and considering externalism with
respect to each.
At the core of the chapter is articulation of what I call the TESEE
conception of consciousness: consciousness as Temporally Extended,
Scaffolded, and Embodied and Embedded. In sections 3 and 4, I focus
on aspects of consciousness that are thoughtlike “ higher-order cogni-
tion, attention, and introspection “ what collectively I shall call processes of
Thinking Through and Beyond the Body
216

awareness, ¬rst introducing (section 3) and then arguing for (section 4)
an expanded view of such processes. The TESEE conception of processes
of awareness complements the externalist view of cognition already de-
veloped in Chapters 7 and 8.
One further question is how well such an externalist view accounts
for the “other half ” of consciousness “ pain, bodily states, and visual
experience “ what I group together as phenomenal states. Recently, philoso-
phers such as Michael Tye, Bill Lycan, and Fred Dretske have attempted
to extend externalism from its roots in characterizing intentional phe-
nomena to consciousness by adopting a representational view of the phe-
nomenal. Although the relationship between the intentional and the
phenomenal will be the focus of the next chapter, in section 5, I consider
Dretske™s view, in particular a dilemma argument that he uses to motivate
his externalism about the phenomenal. The discussion here will set the
scene for considering views of at least some phenomenal states that ex-
emplify the TESEE conception of them in section 6. Here I will draw on
recent work by the philosopher Alva No¨ and the psychologist J. Kevin
e
O™Regan on the sensorimotor contingency theory of visual experience,
and by Susan Hurley on consciousness more generally. As we will see,
especially in sections 7 and 8, there are limitations to how extensive an
externalist account of the phenomenal can be, and there are various ways
in which the TESEE view stops short of the sort of “global externalism”
defended by Dretske and other representationalists.
There are two reasons for suspecting that a general theory of conscious-
ness will prove illusive. The ¬rst is that, as suggested by the six kinds of
mental phenomena I presented as examples of conscious states, such a
theory either has to lump quite diverse phenomena together, or explain
why some are more fundamental as conscious mental phenomena than
others (and treat just those). Even though I view as useful the catego-
rization of these into processes of awareness and phenomenal states, and
shall show ways in which the TESEE conception of consciousness illumi-
nates both, there are important differences between these two categories
of mental phenomena, as well as within them.
The second is that the demands placed on a theory of consciousness
come from many different quarters. These range from demands pecu-
liar to philosophers “ such as those sometimes imposed within the ex-
planatory gap literature or work on the problem of self-knowledge “ to
constraints that derive from facts about neural processing or limits to the
accessibility of consciousness within cognitive neuroscience and psychol-
ogy. These demands sometimes apply primarily or paradigmatically to just
Expanding Consciousness 217

some subset of mental phenomena considered conscious (thus interact-
ing with my ¬rst reservation), or address distinct aspects to consciousness.
We are in the same position as are those searching for a theory of matter
that satis¬es both idealists, who think that all there is are ideas “ and so
need to be shown how any theory of matter is compatible with that “
and physicists who are convinced that matter exists but disagree about
whether it is continuous or particulate, uniform or differentiated.


3 expanding the conscious mind: processes
of awareness
Consider higher-order cognition, attention, and introspection, what I
refer to collectively as processes of awareness. These are sometimes
thought of as processes that characterize distinctively human conscious-
ness, though they have also been deployed in offering a general account
of consciousness. For example, so-called higher-order theories of con-
sciousness (HOT) propose that consciousness is awareness. On HOT
views, what makes a given state conscious is that it is the object of some
other, higher-order mental state of a particular kind. In keeping with
my general aims in this chapter, here my focus will not be on such the-
ories but instead on the processes that they posit and their relation to
externalism about the mind.
I shall suggest that processes of awareness call out for a radical rethink-
ing along externalist lines, one that turns on taking locational externalism
about consciousness more seriously than it has been taken, even by ex-
ternalists about the phenomenal. The argument here will be similar to
that given in the previous chapter, where I argued that our conceptions of
memory, cognitive development, and folk psychology should be explicitly
refashioned along externalist lines. At the heart of this reconceptualiza-
tion are three features of processes of awareness that have usually been
ignored or downplayed: They are temporally extended; they are typically scaf-
folded on environmental and cultural tools; and they are both embodied
and embedded. Let me take each of these in turn.
In both the philosophical and psychological literature, processes of
awareness are usually thought of as enduring for very short periods of
time. The sort of ¬rst-person introspection or retrospection on one™s
own mental states that allows philosophers to conceptually analyze the
products of processes of awareness, and psychologists to experimentally
record reports and other outcomes of those processes, are temporally
quite limited. (Seconds for philosophers, milliseconds for psychologists.)
Thinking Through and Beyond the Body
218

It is this conception of processes of awareness that generates many of the
classical problems in each ¬eld. For example, consider Hume™s problem
of the elusive I, the self being dif¬cult to detect amongst the ¬‚eeting
objects of awareness that one ¬nds in introspection. Or consider a ver-
sion of the binding problem, the problem of accounting for how various
aspects of experience are bound together to form a seamless, relatively
uni¬ed experience, given the different ways in which these aspects are
processed within the organism. Both problems presuppose a conception
of consciousness as operating on a timescale of seconds or less.
These forms of the processes of awareness are important to cogni-
tion, but they are not the only form that such processes take. As Merlin
Donald has pointed out, there is a more temporally extended form that
awareness takes, enduring minutes or hours, that is especially signi¬cant
for human cognition, for without it we would not be able to perform
many of the tasks that are uniquely human (or near enough so). Con-
structing or following a narrative, planning to and then acquiring a given
motor skill, and negotiating a crowded street in a car or on foot are
three examples of such actions that we perform not simply while con-
scious but at least sometimes consciously. The processes that generate
such actions temporally extend beyond the limit of the second hand.
Such tasks are ubiquitous in everyday, waking life, and they involve an
agent who is both embodied and embedded (more of which in a mo-
ment). Both culturally and individually we construct perception-action
cycles that involve attuning ourselves to the world, and the world to our-
selves. Many such cycles are constituted primarily by conscious experi-
ences and acts, and their temporal extension, over minutes or hours, goes
hand-in-hand with their spatial extension beyond the brain of individual
cognizers.2
This temporally and spatially extended conception of processes of
awareness makes it easy to understand consciousness as environmentally
and culturally scaffolded. Although the cognitive role of speci¬c, cultur-
ally developed tools, such as navigation equipment, clocks, and maps,
has been acknowledged in some recent thinking about cognition, there
has been a concentration in this literature on symbolic devices and sym-
bols and their interaction with the cognizers. One consequence of this
is that the scaffolded nature of processes of awareness and cognition
more generally appears as a relatively esoteric, specialized addition to
biological cognitive systems, the cream on the cake of cognition. This is
seriously misleading, for the range of scaffolding involved in processes of
awareness is extensive, and includes, in addition to humanly constructed
Expanding Consciousness 219

symbolic devices, a range of environmental and social structures that are
appropriated by cognizers.
For example, systematic, re¬‚ective, cognitive use has been made of
natural features of land and sky, such as the position of the sun or the
shift in position of landmarks, in traditional seafaring navigation. These
natural features play similar roles that cognitive devices play in modern,
Western navigational practices. To take another example, a road itself can
be as important a cognitive resource as signs along that road or a map
that shows where the road leads. Individuals who want to get from A to
B need to be appropriately coupled to all of these resources. In neither
case need we think of such cognitive resources as symbolic in nature,
or as carrying meaning in and of themselves. What is crucial about such
scaffolds for processes of awareness is that they are causally integrated
into what can be complicated, conscious actions that simply could be not
performed without them. Their integration, their causal connectedness
to the individual cognizer, extends not only that individual™s cognitive
abilities, but expands her consciousness.3
Once we adopt a temporally extended view of consciousness and start
looking for scaffolding in everyday mental life, examples multiply. In the
section on cognitive development in the previous chapter, I said that both
spoken language and written language serve as mediators that change
the structure of cognition, and much the same is true of consciousness.
The written word and all that invokes it “ from labels on packages, to
directional signs, letters, books, advertisements, addresses, codes, com-
puters, scienti¬c instruments, t-shirts, shopping lists, cards, the Western
educational system, law courts, and bureaucracy in general “ is ubiqui-
tous in how we cognitively negotiate our daily lives. Its integration into
our conscious mental lives alters the very processes of awareness that
constitute consciousness through augmentation. Those processes now
incorporate the written word, just as the processes of awareness of speak-
ing creatures came to incorporate speech into consciousness. In each
case, consciousness itself relies on, and expands to include, such external
scaffolds.
A second, general source for mental scaffolding, as suggested in my
discussion of folk psychology in the previous chapter, is other people.
Others often constitute cognitive resources that can be accessed fairly di-
rectly (for example, by asking them) or in more indirect ways. If we accept
that cognitive resources can be distributed across individuals, then it is a
small step to viewing these resources as sometimes the object of processes
of awareness. But let me say something more about the third plank to the
Thinking Through and Beyond the Body
220

view of processes of awareness I am articulating “ the embodiment and
embeddedness of such processes “ before taking this small step.
Temporally extended processes of awareness are embodied and em-
bedded not simply in that they are processes of organisms, organisms
have bodies, and these bodies exist in environments. This is banal. Rather,
conscious life in the time scale of minutes or hours involves agency, and
agents, at least the sorts of agents that we are and all examples that we
know of are, exercise their agency in the physical world through their bod-
ies over extended periods of time. There is no other way to act. And bodies
gain traction with the physical world through reliably causing changes in,
and in turn by being changed by, that world. No environment, no bodily
action; no bodily action, no agency; no agency, no temporally extended
processes or awareness.
The countervailing claim that we can imagine such processes taking
place without either or both a body and an environment at all has a
rich philosophical history, from Descartes™s evil demon hypothesis to
brain-in-a-vat thought experiments. Does the TESEE view of conscious-
ness deny that we can imagine processes of awareness going on in such
cases? Two related replies. First, such imaginings are typically radically un-
derdescribed, and they often become incoherent once they are imagined
more fully. More pointedly, I have found that disagreements over what
can and can™t be imagined here often turn on one™s prior philosophical
commitments, and that makes me suspicious about relying too heavily
on such claims of imaginability. So, while I am sympathetic to arguments
that point to problems with completely disembodied and disembedded
consciousness, I think that methodologically it is wise to steer clear of
a commitment here. Second, the TESEE view of consciousness is a view
of how consciousness works as a matter of fact for creatures like us with
bodies in environments, rather than of necessity for any creature that we
think we can imagine having the very same processes of awareness as us.
One need not have a view of the latter in order to have a theory of the
former.4
The previous paragraphs suggest an argument from the temporally
extended nature of processes of awareness to the further claims about
agency, embodiment, and embeddedness. But in fact I think that the
argument could be run from any one of these claims to the others,
since they form a cluster of claims that stand or fall together. If this is
right, then the position I am advocating needs to be either accepted
or resisted in toto; there is no middle-ground position. Thus, the tempt-
ing idea of viewing processes of awareness as temporally extended, but
Expanding Consciousness 221

taking the somatic and extrasomatic resources they involve as simply in-
puts for internal processes of awareness to operate on, is a nonstarter. If
one expands consciousness on one of these dimensions, one expands it
on all.
There are thus two sorts of arguments that need to be made to support
this position. The ¬rst should make a prima facie case for this conception
of processes of awareness being a package deal, so that the only live
options are two: Accept or reject the package. The second should then
argue for the former over the latter of these options.


4 arguing for expanded consciousness
Much of the previous section constitutes a start on the ¬rst of these tasks,
since it proceeded by showing how accepting one part of the package
leads to accepting other parts. But we need also to show that there is
no privileged starting point in this conception of processes of awareness.
Consider the following argument, which draws on the premise that pro-
cesses of awareness “ higher-order cognition, attention, and introspec-
tion “ involve not only various sorts of access to environmental resources,
but that these are properly thought of as cognitive resources for the in-
dividual.

(1) Processes of awareness involve accessing and using cognitive re-
sources.
(2) Some of these resources lie beyond the head of the individual.
(3) Accessing and using these resources requires acting on the world in
speci¬c ways (through eye and head movement, bodily orientation
and motion, manipulation). [2]
(4) Even accessing and using internal cognitive resources (for ex-
ample, memories, perceptions) often requires such bodily action
and worldly engagement through mnemonics, intention-¬xing,
rehearsal and repetition, talking to oneself, doodling. [1]

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