While the notion of the mind as information-processor - a kind of computational system - is widely accepted, many scientists and philosophers have assumed that this account of cognition shows that the mind's operations are characterizable independently of their relationship to the external world. This text challenges the internalist view of mind, arguing that intelligence, thought and action cannot be understood in isolation, but only in interaction with the outside world. Arguing that the mind is essentially embedded in the external world, the author provides a schema that allows cognitive scientists to address such problems in artificial intelligence as the "frame" problem and the issue of "bounded" rationality. Extending this schema to cover progress in other studies of behaviour, including language, vision and action, he reinterprets the importance of the organism/environment distinction. The broader philosophical question of the place of mind in the world is also considered, particularly with regard to questions of intentionality, subjectivity and phenomenology.
With implications for philosophy, cognitive and computer science, artificial intelligence and psychology, this book synthesizes state-of-the-art work in philosophy and cognitive science on how the mind interacts with the world to produce thoughts, ideas and actions.