From Emotions to Artifacts: Four Modes of Fulfilling Life-Relevant Tasks

Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 56)


Following the taxonomy of four modes of cognition sketched by Roberto Casati (a syncretism of dual system theories of reasoning and distributed cognition), I describe four modes of addressing evolutionary salient tasks, i.e. those tasks like foraging and mating on which the survival of the species hinges upon. According to an influential tradition, (1) emotions are toolkits designed by evolution to efficiently address biologically relevant challenges. However, Homo sapiens address some of these challenges by (2) rearranging the workings of emotions by means of higher-cognitive faculties. Moreover, still other challenges are dealt with by (3) scaffolding or even totally (4) offloading the relevant tasks to external resources, such as artifacts.



I am indebted to Colin Klein, Irene Papa, Giulia Piredda, Agostino Pinna Pintor and Sarah Songhorian for their comments on previous versions of this paper. This version also benefitted from Marco Fasoli and Valetina Petrolini’s insightful comments. Last but not least, I sincerely thank Tommaso W. Bertolotti for organizing the workshop and putting up this volume.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and EducationUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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