Is having your computer compromised a personal assault? The ethics of extended cognition

Spyridon Palermos, Joseph Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Philosophy of mind and cognitive science (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2010; Palermos 2014) have recently become increasingly receptive to the hypothesis of extended cognition, according to which external artifacts such as our laptops and smartphones can—under appropriate circumstances—feature as material realizers of a person’s cognitive processes. We argue that, to the extent that the hypothesis of extended cognition is correct, our legal and ethical theorizing and practice must be updated by broadening our conception of personal assault so as to include intentional harm toward gadgets that have been appropriately integrated. We next situate the theoretical case for extended personal assault within the context of some recent ethical and legal cases and close with critical discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-560
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the American Philosophical Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2016


  • extended cognition
  • applied ethics
  • technology
  • privacy
  • personal assault


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  • Extended Knowledge

    Pritchard, D., Clark, A., Kallestrup, J., Carter, J. A. & Palermos, S. O.



    Project: Research

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