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False Consciousness and the Socially Extended Mind

Abstract

In this paper I present a problem for the Marxist idea of false consciousness, namely how it is vulnerable to accusations of dogmatism. I will argue that the concept must be further developed if it is to provide a plausible tool for systematic social analysis. In the second half of the paper I will show how this could be done if the account of false consciousness incorporates Shaun Gallagher’s theory of the socially extended mind. This is a theory that explores how the mind expands towards external objects and systems. I will conclude that it helps to reinstate false consciousness as a reliable tool for the analysis of cognitive dynamics within power structures.

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