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Instituting impairment: Extended cognition and the construction of Female Sexual Dysfunction

Cognitive Systems Research
DOI: 10.1016/j.cogsys.2013.03.005
  • Extended Cognition
  • Social Cognition
  • Gender Studies
  • Sexuality
  • Enactivism
  • Pharmacology


Abstract I further the argument for a socially extended mind by examining gender and the role it plays in cognition. My first claim is that gender is a social institution that often if not always subtends our cognitive processes, especially those that are maximally embodied. The social institution of gender often serves to inhibit female embodied cognitive processing, as a quick glance at the myriad of oppressive forces at play in gender dynamics illustrates. To combat the potential objection that gender is not a vehicle for extending cognitive processes, but rather plays a shaping role in embodied practice, I propose looking at the history of Female Sexual Dysfunction and its construction by the social institutions of the pharmaceutical companies and media. By doing so, I claim a case can be made that these institutions have actually invaded the minds of many women to the point that cognition pertaining to sex, sexual functioning, and health are wholly dependent upon and constituted by the interplay of these social systems.

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