Published January 8, 2021 | Version v1
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Intellectual Virtues and Internet-Extended Knowledge

  • 1. University of Southampton
  • 2. Universidade Nova de Lisboa


Arguments for the extended mind suggest the possibility of extended knowers, individuals whose epistemic standing is tied to the operation of cognitive circuits that extend beyond the bounds of skin and skull. When applied to the Internet, this idea yields the possibility of Internet-extended knowledge, a form of extended knowledge that derives from our interactions and engagements with the online environment. This, however, yields a tension: proponents of the extended mind have suggested that cognitive extension requires the automatic endorsement of bio-external content, but such a commitment appears to conflict with the need to carefully evaluate the veracity of online information. Lukas Schwengerer ("Online Intellectual Virtues and the Extended Mind") proposes a solution to this problem. He suggests that proponents of the extended mind ought to accept an alternative conception of the extended mind, one that allows for the evaluation of online content via the exercise of intellectual virtue. We highlight a number of problems with this proposal and suggest that further research (both theoretical and empirical) is required before a virtue-theoretic approach to Internet-extended knowledge can be adopted. On a more positive note, we suggest that the exercise of intellectual virtue may play an important role in the developmental emergence of Internet-extended knowers. 



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PETRAS 2 EP/S035362/1
UK Research and Innovation