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Summary

Embodied and situated approaches have become increasingly popular in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognition. They tend to be scientifically informed responses to the cognitivism predominant in mid-twentieth century analytic philosophy of mind and psychology. Cognitivism in philosophy assumed - either explicitly or implicitly - that the non-neural body and the environment in which we live and act are best factored out in our investigations of mind and cognition. Embodied and situated approaches along with other related responses to philosophical cognitivism have collectively come to be known as “4EA”: Embodied, Embedded, Enactive, Extended, and Affective. While 4EA approaches are united in rejecting the conception of mind and cognition as supervenient only upon internal brain processes they each take a slightly different focus on the reasons why internalism should be rejected and the positions may be held independently. For example, what we might think of as orthodox embodied cognitive science makes little or no mention of the affective domain and it does not imply biological enactivism, which - by its very nature - is itself an inherently embodied approach to cognition. In a similar vein, some of these approaches may be thought to be extensions to twentieth century functionalist philosophy of mind and cognitive science, while in others there is a strong historical connection to the Phenomenologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (in particular Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty) and/or the American Pragmatists such as William James and John Dewey. 

Key works

Clark 1996 captured the imagination of a generation of researchers in philosophy of mind and the cognitive sciences by drawing on research from robotics to argue that the mind is embodied and embedded in important ways. Gallagher 2005 integrates phenomenology and neuroscience with artificial cognitive systems research to argue that the body shapes the mind. Haugeland 1993 is an early - but classic - paper introducing embodiment and situatedness to philosophy of mind, and Brooks 1991 is the key reference from robotics in the field. Hutchins 1995 is the go-to book on embeddedness, and Dreyfus 1972 still stands as one of the main critiques of traditional artificial intelligence approaches. Enactivism was introduced to the world through Varela et al 1991, developed in detail in regard to what might be thought of as ‘biological’ enactivism in Thompson 2007, in regard to ‘perceptual’ enactivism in Noë 2005, and in regard to perception, agency and consciousness in Hurley 1998. Affective cognition is still underrepresented in the embodiment paradigm but Damasio 1994 and Damasio 1999 have been strong influences on philosophers in this area, Griffiths & Scarantino 2005 presents a strongly situated theory of emotions, and Colombetti 2013 provides an in-depth consideration of affective and emotional embodiment.

Introductions

An overview of most of the 4E approaches is presented in the second edition of Clark's Mindware, an introductory textbook for the philosophy of cognitive science. Clark's Natural Born Cyborgs is a very readable lay-introduction to embodiment and the extended mind, but for a more thorough investigation see Supersizing the Mind. A scientifically informed introduction to the phenomenological approach to these issues is presented in Gallagher and Zahavi's The Phenomenological Mind and Noe's Out of our Heads provides an accessible introduction to perceptual enactivism. A thorough consideration of embodied approaches and their relevance to philosophy of mind can be found in Shapiro's Embodied Cognition and his (2014) edited collection The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition collates cutting-edge articles from many of the key players in the discipline.

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Siblings:See also:History/traditions: Embodiment and Situated Cognition
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  1. James H. Abbs (1982). A Speech-Motor-System Perspective on Nervous-System-Control Variables. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 5 (4):541.
  2. Hervé Abdi, Dominique Valentin & Betty G. Edelman (1998). Eigenfeatures as Intermediate-Level Representations: The Case for PCA Models. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):17-18.
    Eigenfeatures are created by the principal component approach (PCA) used on objects described by a low-level code (i.e., pixels, Gabor jets). We suggest that eigenfeatures act like the flexible features described by Schyns et al. They are particularly suited for face processing and give rise to class-specific effects such as the other-race effect. The PCA approach can be modified to accommodate top-down constraints.
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  3. M. Maurice Abitbol (1990). The Multiple Obstacles to Encephalization. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (2):344-345.
  4. Richard A. Abrams (1990). Does Visual-Field Specialization Really Have Implications for Coordinated Visual-Motor Behavior? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (3):542-543.
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  6. Darren Abramson (2009). Book Review: "Supersizing the Mind" by Andy Clark. [REVIEW] International Journal of Machine Consciousness 1 (2):299-304.
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  7. Ana Margarida Abrantes (2009). Cognition and Culture. Semiotics:480-486.
  8. F. Adams & K. Aizawa (2009). Embodied Cognition and the Extended Mind. In John Symons Paco Calvo (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge 193--213.
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  9. Fred Adams (2014). What is a Cognitive Process? Foundations of Science 19 (2):133-135.
    In this commentary to Serrano et al. (2013), I applaud this foundation article for being a breath of fresh air because it addresses the question “What is cognition?” Too often in the cognitive sciences, we leave that question unanswered or worse, unasked. I come not to criticize but to offer a helpful suggestion aimed a pulling together some of the separate strands weaved throughout this article.
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  10. Fred Adams (2010). Embodied Cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):619-628.
    Embodied cognition is sweeping the planet. On a non-embodied approach, the sensory system informs the cognitive system and the motor system does the cognitive system’s bidding. There are causal relations between the systems but the sensory and motor systems are not constitutive of cognition. For embodied views, the relation to the sensori-motor system to cognition is constitutive, not just causal. This paper examines some recent empirical evidence used to support the view that cognition is embodied and raises questions about some (...)
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  11. Fred Adams & Ken Aizawa (2001). The Bounds of Cognition. Philosophical Psychology 14 (1):43-64.
    An alarming number of philosophers and cognitive scientists have argued that mind extends beyond the brain and body. This book evaluates these arguments and suggests that, typically, it does not. A timely and relevant study that exposes the need to develop a more sophisticated theory of cognition, while pointing to a bold new direction in exploring the nature of cognition Articulates and defends the “mark of the cognitive”, a common sense theory used to distinguish between cognitive and non-cognitive processes Challenges (...)
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  12. Frederick Adams (1992). Machine Persons. The Personalist Forum 8 (Supplement):47-55.
  13. Frederick R. Adams & Kenneth Aizawa (2008). The Bounds of Cognition. Blackwell Pub..
  14. Frederick Adams & Kenneth Aizawa (2010). The Value of Cognitivism in Thinking About Extended Cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):579-603.
    This paper will defend the cognitivist view of cognition against recent challenges from Andy Clark and Richard Menary. It will also indicate the important theoretical role that cognitivism plays in understanding some of the core issues surrounding the hypothesis of extended cognition.
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  15. J. S. Adelman & Z. Estes (2013). Emotion and Memory: A Recognition Advantage for Positive and Negative Words Independent of Arousal. Cognition 129 (3):530-535.
  16. Edward H. Adelson (1983). What is Iconic Storage Good For? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 6 (1):11.
  17. Lukasz Afeltowicz (2012). A Cognitivist In The Supermarket. Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 3 (T):149-160.
    The central area of David Kirsh’s interest is the various ways in which humans use elements of their environment as external components of computation processes or means enabling them to reduce the complexity of cognitive problems they face. in his research he performs field observations as well as laboratory experiments. Kirsh skillfully blends concepts developed in contemporary cognitive science, such as situated cognition or extended mind, with classic concepts including problem solving. A number of his theses seam to derive from (...)
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  18. Łukasz Afeltowicz (2012). (Co robi) kognitywista w supermarkecie. Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 3 (T).
    [(What does) a cognitivist in the supermarket] The central area of David Kirsh’s interest is the various ways in which humans use elements of their environment as external components of computation processes or means enabling them to reduce the complexity of cognitive problems they face. in his research he performs field observations as well as laboratory experiments. Kirsh skillfully blends concepts developed in contemporary cognitive science, such as situated cognition or extended mind, with classic concepts including problem solving. A number (...)
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  19. Philip E. Agre (1995). Computation and Embodied Agency. Informatica 19:527-35.
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  20. Bernardo Ainbinder (2015). John Haugeland: Dasein Disclosed: John Haugeland’s Heidegger. Edited by Joseph Rouse. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4):1171-1177.
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  21. Ken Aizawa (forthcoming). Cognition and Behavior. Synthese:1-20.
    An important question in the debate over embodied, enactive, and extended cognition has been what has been meant by “cognition”. What is this cognition that is supposed to be embodied, enactive, or extended? Rather than undertake a frontal assault on this question, however, this paper will take a different approach. In particular, we may ask how cognition is supposed to be related to behavior. First, we could ask whether cognition is supposed to be behavior. Second, we could ask whether we (...)
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  22. Ken Aizawa (2014). What is This Cognition That is Supposed to Be Embodied? Philosophical Psychology 28 (6):755-775.
    Many cognitive scientists have recently championed the thesis that cognition is embodied. In principle, explicating this thesis should be relatively simple. There are, essentially, only two concepts involved: cognition and embodiment. After articulating what will here be meant by ‘embodiment’, this paper will draw attention to cases in which some advocates of embodied cognition apparently do not mean by ‘cognition’ what has typically been meant by ‘cognition’. Some advocates apparently mean to use ‘cognition’ not as a term for one, among (...)
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  23. Kenneth Aizawa (2013). Introduction to “The Material Bases of Cognition”. Minds and Machines 23 (3):277-286.
  24. Kenneth Aizawa (2010). The Value of Cognitivism in Thinking About Extended Cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):579-603.
    This paper will defend the cognitivist view of cognition against recent challenges from Andy Clark and Richard Menary. It will also indicate the important theoretical role that cognitivism plays in understanding some of the core issues surrounding the hypothesis of extended cognition.
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  25. Varol Akman (2009). Situated Semantics. In Murat Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge 401--418.
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  26. Varol Akman (1998). Guest Editor's Introduction. Minds and Machines 8 (4):475-477.
    In this special issue of Minds and Machines ("Situations and Artificial Intelligence") we take a close look at recent situation-theoretic research which has mostly originated within a philosophical framework but promises to have strong connotations for Artificial Intelligence workers. The seven papers which make up this special issue (three of the papers appear in Minds and Machines 9(1)) demonstrate the advantages of the situation-based approach towards problems with a definite AI flavor.
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  27. Gaetano Albergo (2014). The First-Person Perspective Requirement In Pretense. Phenomenology and Mind 7:224-234.
    According to Lynne Baker we need to investigate the performances to understand if someone has a first-person perspective. My claim is that language has not the main role in the formation of epistemic states and self-consciousness. In children’s performances, we have evidence for a self-consciousness without “I” thoughts. We investigate if it is possible to understand the difference between a case of false belief and one of pretense. My aim is to demonstrate that pretense is not a proto-concept but a (...)
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  28. Emmanuel Alloa (2014). Flected Bodies: On the Relationship Between Body and Language. Eidos: Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad Del Norte 21:200-220.
    Although in the modern age there were plenty of attempts to overcome the mind-body dualism, its philosophical theories of language reintroduced it in a subtle but not less effective way.In this article several theorems to think on the materiality of the sign are discussed, and, from Kierkegaard to the post-Saussurean structuralism, the prominent role of thinking the materialization as something necessary but arbitrary in its modality is shown. The body of language under this understanding is not only that which can (...)
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  29. Emmanuel Alloa (2014). The Theatre of the Virtual. How to Stage Potentialities with Merleau-Ponty. In Laura Cull & Alice Lagaay (eds.), Encounters in Performance Philosophy. PalgraveMacmillan 147-170.
  30. Emmanuel Alloa (2014). The Theatre of the Virtual. How to Stage Potentialities with Merleau-Ponty. In Laura Cull & Alice Lagaay (eds.), Encounters in Performance Philosophy. PalgraveMacmillan 147-170.
  31. Emmanuel Alloa (2009). La chair comme diacritique incarné. Chiasmi International 11:249-262.
    In 20th century thinking, few concepts have provoked as many misunderstandings as Merleau-Ponty’s notion of ‘Flesh’. Such misunderstandings (of which the article sketches the outline of an archaeology) rest on the initial assumption that the Flesh has to be derived from the body. The article suggests that the dominant readings of the Flesh can be organized along what could respectively be called the scenario of propriety and the scenario of expansion, beyond which a third way comes into view which does (...)
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  32. Jens Allvvood (2008). Dimensions of Embodied Communication—Towards a Typology of Embodied Communication. In Ipke Wachsmuth, Manuela Lenzen & Günther Knoblich (eds.), Embodied Communication in Humans and Machines. OUP Oxford 257.
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  33. Jens Allwood (2008). Dimensions of Embodied Communication - Towards a Typology of Embodied Communication. In Ipke Wachsmuth, Manuela Lenzen & Günther Knoblich (eds.), Embodied Communication in Humans and Machines. OUP Oxford
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  34. Adrian John Tetteh Alsmith & Frédérique Vignemont (2012). Embodying the Mind and Representing the Body. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (1):1-13.
    Does the existence of body representations undermine the explanatory role of the body? Or do certain types of representation depend so closely upon the body that their involvement in a cognitive task implicates the body itself? In the introduction of this special issue we explore lines of tension and complement that might hold between the notions of embodiment and body representations, which remain too often neglected or obscure. To do so, we distinguish two conceptions of embodiment that either put weight (...)
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  35. Dr Michael Anderson (2005). How to Study the Mind: An Introduction to Embodied Cognition. In [Book Chapter] (in Press).
    Embodied Cognition (EC) is a comprehensive approach to, and framework for, the study of the mind. EC treats cognition as a coordinated set of tools evolved by organisms for coping with their environments. Each of the key terms in this characterization-tool, evolved, organism, coping, and environment-has a special significance for understanding the mind that is discussed in this article.
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  36. Michael Anderson, Evolution, Embodiment and the Nature of the Mind.
    In: B. Hardy-Vallee & N. Payette, eds. Beyond the brain: embodied, situated & distributed cognition. (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar’s Press), in press. Abstract: In this article, I do three main things: 1. First, I introduce an approach to the mind motivated primarily by evolutionary considerations. I do that by laying out four principles for the study of the mind from an evolutionary perspective, and four predictions that they suggest. This evolutionary perspective is completely compatible with, although broader than, the embodied cognition (...)
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  37. Michael Anderson, On the Grounds of (X)-Grounded Cognition.
    For the least the last 10 years, there has been growing interest in, and grow- ing evidence for, the intimate relations between more abstract or higher order cognition—such as reasoning, planning, and language use—and the more con- crete, immediate, or lower order operations of the perceptual and motor sys- tems that support seeing, feeling, moving, and manipulating. A sub-field of the larger research program in embodied cognition (Clark, 1997, 1998; Wilson, 2001; Anderson, 2003, 2007d, 2008; Gibbs, 2006), this work has (...)
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  38. Michael Anderson, Reviews. [REVIEW]
    Embodied cognition (EC) is growing up, and How the Body Shapes the Mind is both a sign of, and substantive contributor to, this ongoing development. Born in or about 1991 (the year of publication of seminal works by Brooks, Dreyfus, and Varela, Thompson & Rosch), EC is only now emerging from a tumultuous but exciting childhood marked in particular by the size and breadth of the extended family hoping to have some impact on its early education and upbringing. As family (...)
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  39. Michael Anderson, Chapter Five.
    Basics of Embodied Cognition EC treats cognition as a set of tools evolved by organisms for coping with their environments. Each of the key terms in this characterization—tool, evolved, organisms, coping, and environment—has a special significance for, and casts a particular light on, the study of the mind. EC thereby foregrounds the following six facts.
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  40. Michael L. Anderson, Embodied Cognition: The Teenage Years. A Review of Gallagher, S. (2005). How.
    Embodied Cognition is growing up, and How the Body Shapes the Mind is both a sign of, and substantive contributor to this ongoing development. Born in or about 1991, EC is only now emerging from a tumultuous but exciting childhood marked in particular by the size and breadth of the extended family hoping to have some impact on its early education and upbringing. As family members include computer science, phenomenology, developmental and cognitive psychology, analytic philosophy of mind, linguistics, neuroscience, and (...)
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  41. Michael L. Anderson, Embodied Cognition: The Teenage Years.
    A review of Gallagher, S. (2005). How the Body Shapes the Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  42. Michael L. Anderson (2005). Representation, Evolution and Embodiment. Theoria Et Historia Scientarum.
    As part of the ongoing attempt to fully naturalize the concept of human being--and, more specifically, to re-center it around the notion of agency--this essay discusses an approach to defining the content of representations in terms ultimately derived from their central, evolved function of providing guidance for action. This 'guidance theory' of representation is discussed in the context of, and evaluated with respect to, two other biologically inspired theories of representation: Dan Lloyd's dialectical theory of representation and Ruth Millikan's biosemantics.
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  43. Michael L. Anderson (2003). Embodied Cognition: A Field Guide. Artificial Intelligence 149 (1):91-130.
    The nature of cognition is being re-considered. Instead of emphasizing formal operations on abstract symbols, the new approach foregrounds the fact that cognition is, rather, a situated activity, and suggests that thinking beings ought therefore be considered first and foremost as acting beings. The essay reviews recent work in Embodied Cognition, provides a concise guide to its principles, attitudes and goals, and identifies the physical grounding project as its central research focus.
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  44. Michael L. Anderson (1997). Content and Comportment: On Embodiment and the Epistemic Availability of the World. Rowman and Littlefield.
    "Content and Comportment argues persuasively that the answer to some long-standing questions in epistemology and metaphysics lies in taking up the neglected question of the role of our bodily activity in establishing connections between representational states?knowledge and belief in particular?and their objects in the world. It takes up these ideas from both current mainstream analytic philosophy?Frege, Dummett, Davidson, Evans?and from mainstream continental work?Heidegger and his commentators and critics?and bings them together successfully in a way that should surprise only those who (...)
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  45. Michael L. Anderson, Michael J. Richardson & Anthony Chemero (2012). Eroding the Boundaries of Cognition: Implications of Embodiment1. Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (4):717-730.
    To accept that cognition is embodied is to question many of the beliefs traditionally held by cognitive scientists. One key question regards the localization of cognitive faculties. Here we argue that for cognition to be embodied and sometimes embedded, means that the cognitive faculty cannot be localized in a brain area alone. We review recent research on neural reuse, the 1/f structure of human activity, tool use, group cognition, and social coordination dynamics that we believe demonstrates how the boundary between (...)
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  46. Gladys Nyarko Ansah (2014). Culture in Embodied Cognition: Metaphorical/Metonymic Conceptualizations of FEAR in Akan and English. Metaphor and Symbol 29 (1):44-58.
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  47. Ulrich Ansorge, Markus Kiefer, Shah Khalid, Sylvia Grassl & Peter König (2010). Testing the Theory of Embodied Cognition with Subliminal Words. Cognition 116 (3):303-320.
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  48. István Aranyosi (forthcoming). Margins of Me: A Personal Story (Chapter 1 of The Peripheral Mind). In The Peripheral Mind. Philosophy of Mind and the Peripheral Nervous System. OUP
    The author presents an autobiographical story of serious peripheral motor nerve damage resulting from chemotoxicity induced as a side effect of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma treatment. The first-person, phenomenological account of the condition naturally leads to philosophical questions about consciousness, felt presence of oneself all over and within one’s body, and the felt constitutiveness of peripheral processes to one’s mental life. The first-person data only fit well with a philosophical approach to the mind that takes peripheral, bodily events and states at their (...)
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  49. István Aranyosi (forthcoming). Toward a Well-Innervated Philosophy of Mind (Chapter 4 of The Peripheral Mind). Oxford University Press.
    The “brain in a vat” thought experiment is presented and refuted by appeal to the intuitiveness of what the author informally calls “the eye for an eye principle”, namely: Conscious mental states typically involved in sensory processes can conceivably successfully be brought about by direct stimulation of the brain, and in all such cases the utilized stimulus field will be in the relevant sense equivalent to the actual PNS or part of it thereof. In the second section, four classic problems (...)
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  50. Eric Arnau, Anna Estany, Rafael González del Solar & Thomas Sturm (2014). The Extended Cognition Thesis: Its Significance for the Philosophy of (Cognitive) Science. Philosophical Psychology 27 (1):1-18.
    While the extended cognition (EC) thesis has gained more followers in cognitive science and in the philosophy of mind and knowledge, our main goal is to discuss a different area of significance of the EC thesis: its relation to philosophy of science. In this introduction, we outline two major areas: (I) The role of the thesis for issues in the philosophy of cognitive science, such as: How do notions of EC figure in theories or research programs in cognitive science? Which (...)
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