Suit the action to the world, the world to the action, with this
special observance, that you overstep not the modesty of nature.

William Shakespeare


What is Cognitive Situatedness?

Some philosophers argue that the sign of intelligence is the capability of producing and using tools. Tool, in general sense, can manifest in many forms such as natural language, signs, or physical tools. Based on this premises, philosophers also argue that "cognition" cannot be separated from the physical environment. That is, an intelligent entity in some sort would and should be inspired, guided, and motivated, in its cognitive process, by the existence of the tools. For example, if one has a hot cup of coffee in his/her hand then, may reactively drop the cup. On the other hand, existence of a table in his/her environment may inspire him/her to leave the cup on the table. Such observations support the claim that external entities can play a crucial role in the definition of intelligence and the cognitive processes.

What is Extrospection?

Extrospection is a process of cognition directed outward — a process of apprehending some existent(s) of the external world. Introspection is a process of cognition directed inward — a process of apprehending one’s own psychological actions in regard to some existent(s) of the external world, such actions as thinking, feeling, reminiscing, etc.

Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistomology p. 37

In the context of this research, extrospection refers to discovering, comprehending, and using tools in the environment. The main aim of this research is to identify how the setting of the environment can affect the cognitive process, and how these mechanisms can be employed in the context of intelligent software programs (i.e. software agents)
There exist various theories that try to relate cognition and the physical entities that populate the environment. Within such theories one may name ecological psychology, distributed cognition, activity theory etc. Although each theory has its strengths and weaknesses, it is activity theory that tries to combine explicitly the mediating role of "tools" in the context of goal directed action. In that, activity theory is the most influential theory for this research. Thus, Extrospection concentrates on the cognitive nature of "tool" instead of its physical nature.

What is an Extrospective Agent?

Extrospective agent is "a" possible model and application of situated cognition to software agents. In a nutshell, we define an extrospective agent as a belief, desire, intention (BDI) agent which is capable of extending its plan library by available means in its environment (i.e. tools). Basic reasoning cycle -- perceive/ deliberate/ act -- is extended by "discover" where agent discovers and comprehends tools for possible future use.
In so doing, extrospective agent is designed and implemented in desire to further the reach towards the long been chased goal of open environments of the agency research. Through the combination of other recent approaches, especially Agent and Artefact (A&A) framework by Alessandro Ricci, Extrospective agent also contributes to define a clear separation between the environment design and the agent design within the context of agent oriented computing.