Extending Knowledge of the Implications of Socially Extended Knowledge

Over the past 3 years, Eidyn researchers have been examining the theoretical and practical ramifications of conceiving of knowledge as extended beyond the individual to the artifacts she interacts with (e.g. smartphones).

On 25 January 2016, with its Extended Knowledge Project coming to a close, Eidyn hosted a one-day meeting to showcase its findings to a diverse audience with an interest in the applicability of the research to education, industry, ethics and law.

This project involved collaborators at Eidyn and elsewhere working in the philosophy of mind, epistemology and cognitive science. The project was designed to better understand how the acquisition, retention, and use of information is facilitated through a subject’s interaction with groups, and/or various ‘external’ artifacts and technologies.

The event began in the morning with Prof. Any Clark leading a discussion on what it means to be a responsible truth-seeker in an increasingly technologically-dependent social scene. Dr. Paul Smart then followed, charting new ways of conceiving epistemic vice and virtue in connection with various digital media technologies. Prof. Duncan Pritchard discussed extended knowledge in connection with education, with Dr. Orestis Palmeros offering fresh insights into problems involving ‘social machines’ (i.e. Wikipedia) from the team’s work on ‘group knowledge’. Lastly, Dr. Adam Carter challenged the group to think about the extended cognition hypothesis in connection with ethics. Might it count as a form of personal assault to have your personal computer meddled with?

Oresitis Palmeros commented: "This event was a terrific chance to share our results with people outside academia and receive invaluable feedback and suggestions for future collaborations."