June 9 and June 10, 2021

4E Cognition and digital technologies

Online workshop

Funded by: Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics, Macquarie University

Organizers: Jelle Bruineberg and Alex Gillett


4E cognition holds that human cognition is deeply interwoven with social and technological environments, including digital artefacts. The interwovenness with digital technologies takes on new forms: we encounter others through digital technologies, we rely on digital technologies to find our way, we immerse ourselves with digital technologies that provide us with personalized feeds and adverts based on elaborate data profiles. Digital technologies offer a constant stream of information, continuously at our disposal. These developments open up a new and pressing set of questions about the interface between embodied agents and digital technologies.

Does the omnipresence of digital technologies alter cognitive activities such as paying attention and mind-wandering? Do the dynamics of the attention economy interplay with the spread of (mis)-information? Does 4E cognition have the adequate conceptual resources to accommodate both the positive and negative effects of digital engagement on our overall cognitive abilities? Given that our relationships with technology are postulated to be partially constitutive of cognitive processing in domains related to the self, emotions, knowledge, and memory, normative questions about cognitive enhancement, cognitive deskilling and bad habits are especially pressing.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers working on the interface of philosophy of technology, cognitive ecology, and embodied cognition to make progress on this set of questions.


4E and the dogma of harmony
Jesper Aagaard – Aarhus University (DK)

Digital protest: how hashtags and emoji direct attention in the 2020 Black Lives Matters movement on Twitter

Mark Alfano – Macquarie University (AUS)

Extended mind-wandering

Regina Fabry – Bochum University (DE)

Jelle Bruineberg – Macquarie University (AUS)

Virtual worlds as homes?

Alex Gillett – Macquarie University (AUS)

Extended mind and artifactual autobiographical memory

Richard Heersmink – LaTrobe University (AUS)

Attention and distraction: two sides of one (very valuable) coin

Miriam Rasch – Willem de Kooning Academy (NL)

Time and date

June 9 and June 10, 2021

Sydney: 16:30 - 19:30
Amsterdam: 08:30 - 11:30
GMT: 06:30 - 09:30

The workshop will take place on Zoom. It will be open to all and free of charge.