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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. Darren Abramson (2009). Book Review: "Supersizing the Mind" by Andy Clark. [REVIEW] International Journal of Machine Consciousness 1 (02):299-304.
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Philip E. Agre (1995). Computation and Embodied Agency. Informatica 19:527-35.
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  6. 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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  7. Varol Akman (2009). Situated Semantics. In Murat Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge. 401--418.
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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. Giuseppe Attanasi, Astrid Hopfensitz, Emiliano Lorini & Frédéric Moisan (2014). The Effects of Social Ties on Coordination: Conceptual Foundations for an Empirical Analysis. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (1):47-73.
    This paper investigates the influence that social ties can have on behavior. After defining the concept of social ties that we consider, we introduce an original model of social ties. The impact of such ties on social preferences is studied in a coordination game with outside option. We provide a detailed game theoretical analysis of this game while considering various types of players, i.e., self-interest maximizing, inequity averse, and fair agents. In addition to these approaches that require strategic reasoning in (...)
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  24. Saray Ayala (2010). Superfunctionalizing the Mind. [REVIEW] Teorema (1).
  25. Murat Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.) (2009). The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge.
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  26. Elizabeth Baeten (2007). Embedded and Embodied Moral Life. Contemporary Pragmatism 4 (2):77-92.
    Evolutionary biology and other fields presupposing humans as products of natural selection have much to contribute to philosophic inquiry. This seems especially true for American philosophy in a broad "pragmatist" or "naturalist" tradition. I examine sociality as a precondition of being human , embodied cognition, and culture as a product of ecological niche construction. I then make some suggestions, with Dewey in mind, as to the shape of our thinking about our moral lives once we recognize humans as squarely within (...)
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  27. Pm Baggett & A. Ehrenfeucht (1988). What is the Role of Practice in Cognition. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 26 (6):503-503.
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  28. Andrew R. Bailey, Consciousness and the Embodied Self.
    This paper deals with the relationship between the embodied cognition paradigm and two sets of its implications: its implications for the ontology of selves, and its implications for the nature and extent of phenomenal consciousness. There has been a recent wave of interest within cognitive science in the paradigm variously called ‘embodied,’ ‘extended,’ ‘situated’ or ‘distributed’ cognition. Although ideas applied in the embodied cognition research program can be traced back to the work of Heidegger, Piaget, Vygotsky, Merleau-Ponty, and Dewey, the (...)
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  29. Russell P. Balda & Alan C. Kamil (2002). Spatial and Social Cognition in Corvids: An Evolutionary Approach. In Marc Bekoff, Colin Allen & Gordon M. Burghardt (eds.), The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition. Mit Press. 129--134.
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  30. J. Mark Baldwin (1909). Motor Processes and Mental Unity. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 6 (7):182-185.
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  31. Dana Ballard (1991). Animate Vision. Artificial Intelligence 48:57-86.
  32. Dana H. Ballard, Mary M. Hayhoe, Polly K. Pook & Rajesh P. N. Rao (1997). Pointing the Way. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (4):758-763.
    The majority of commentators agree that the time to focus on embodiment has arrived and that the disembodied approach that was taken from the birth of artificial intelligence is unlikely to provide a satisfactory account of the special features of human intelligence. In our Response, we begin by addressing the general comments and criticisms directed at the emerging enterprise of deictic and embodied cognition. In subsequent sections we examine the topics that constitute the core of the commentaries: embodiment mechanisms, dorsal (...)
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  33. Luca Barlassina & Albert Newen (2014). The Role of Bodily Perception in Emotion: In Defense of an Impure Somatic Theory. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):637-678.
    In this paper, we develop an impure somatic theory of emotion, according to which emotions are constituted by the integration of bodily perceptions with representations of external objects, events, or states of affairs. We put forward our theory by contrasting it with Prinz's pure somatic theory, according to which emotions are entirely constituted by bodily perceptions. After illustrating Prinz's theory and discussing the evidence in its favor, we show that it is beset by serious problems—i.e., it gets the neural correlates (...)
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  34. Amanda Barnier, John Sutton, Celia Harris & Robert A. Wilson (2008). A Conceptual and Empirical Framework for the Social Distribution of Cognition: The Case of Memory. Cognitive Systems Research 9 (1):33-51.
  35. L. Barsalou (2008). Embodied Language and Concepts. In G. R. Semin & Eliot R. Smith (eds.), Embodied Grounding: Social, Cognitive, Affective, and Neuroscientific Approaches. Cambridge University Press.
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  36. Fiorella Battaglia (2012). The Embodied Self and the Feeling of Being Alive. In Joerg Fingerhut & Sabine Marienberg (eds.), Feelings of Being Alive / Gefühle des Lebendigseins. De Gruyter. 201-222.
    This paper aims to render some aspects of the feeling of being alive more clearly comprehensible. My emphasis on the phenomenal quality of consciousness stems from the “embodied” approach to consciousness, according to which consciousness, since it is considered a phenomenon of life, includes both intentional and motivational aspects. In this view, its phenomenal quality is an inherent property of the embodied self, which relates both to the external world and to itself. The feeling of being alive is not neutral; (...)
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  37. Brian H. Baxter (1983). Art and Embodied Truth. Mind 92 (366):189-203.
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  38. Ariane Bazan & David Van Bunder (2005). Some Comments on the Emotional and Motor Dynamics of Language Embodiment. In Helena De Preester & Veroniek Knockaert (eds.), Body Image and Body Schema. John Benjamins Publishing Company. 65.
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  39. M. Beaton (2013). Phenomenology and Embodied Action. Constructivist Foundations 8 (3):298-313.
    Context: The enactivist tradition, out of which neurophenomenology arose, rejects various internalisms – including the representationalist and information-processing metaphors – but remains wedded to one further internalism: the claim that the structure of perceptual experience is directly, constitutively linked only to internal, brain-based dynamics. Problem: I aim to reject this internalism and defend an alternative analysis. Method: The paper presents a direct-realist, externalist, sensorimotor account of perceptual experience. It uses the concept of counterfactual meaningful action to defend this view against (...)
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  40. R. Beer (1995). A Dynamical Systems Perspective on Agent-Environment Interaction. Artificial Intelligence 72:173-215.
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  41. J. C. Berendzen (2014). Motor Imagery and Merleau-Pontyian Accounts of Skilled Action. Ergo 1 (7):169-198.
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty is often interpreted as claiming that opportunities for action are directly present in perceptual experience. However, he does not provide much evidence for how or why this would occur, and one can doubt that this is an appropriate interpretation of his phenomenological descriptions. In particular, it could be argued the Merleau-Pontyian descriptions mistakenly attribute pre-perceptual or post-perceptual elements such as allocation of attention or judgment to the perceptual experience itself. This paper argues for the Merleau-Pontyian idea that opportunities (...)
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  42. Christina Bermeitinger & Markus Kiefer (2012). Embodied Concepts. In Sabine C. Koch, Thomas Fuchs, Michela Summa & Cornelia Müller (eds.), Body Memory, Metaphor and Movement. John Benjamins Publishing Company. 84--121.
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  43. Jose Luis Bermudez, Anthony J. Marcel & Naomi M. Eilan (eds.) (1995). The Body and the Self. MIT Press.
  44. L. Bietti (2010). Can the Mind Be Extended? And How? Review of “Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action and Cognitive Extension' by Andy Clark. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008. Constructivist Foundations 5 (2):97--99.
    Upshot: The “Extended Mind Thesis‘ claims that cognitive processes are situated, embodied and goal-oriented actions that unfold in real world interactions with the immediate environment, cultural tools and other persons. The body and the “outside‘ world, undoubtedly, have a crucial influence, driving human beings’ cognitive processes. In his book, Andy Clark goes slightly further by claiming that the mind is often extended into the body and the world.
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  45. Dorrit Billman & Justin Peterson (1989). Critique of Structural Analysis in Modeling Cognition: A Case Study of Jackendoff's Theory. Philosophical Psychology 2 (3):283 – 296.
    Modeling cognition by structural analysis of representation leads to systematic difficulties which are not resolvable. We analyse the merits and limits of a representation-based methodology to modeling cognition by treating Jackendoff's Consciousness and the Computational Mind as a good case study. We note the effects this choice of methodology has on the view of consciousness he proposes, as well as a more detailed consideration of the computational mind. The fundamental difficulty we identify is the conflict between the desire for modular (...)
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  46. M. Bitbol (2012). Neurophenomenology, an Ongoing Practice of/in Consciousness. Constructivist Foundations 7 (3):165-173.
    Context: In his work on neurophenomenology, the late Francisco Varela overtly tackled the well-known “hard problem” of the (physical) origin of phenomenal consciousness. Problem: Did he have a theory for solving this problem? No, he declared, only a “remedy.” Yet this declaration has been overlooked: Varela has been considered (successively or simultaneously) as an idealist, a dualist, or an identity theorist. Results: These primarily theoretical characterizations of Varela’s position are first shown to be incorrect. Then it is argued that there (...)
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  47. Guilherme Bittencourt & Jerusa Marchi (2006). An Embodied Logical Model for Cognition. In A. Loula, R. Gudwin & J. Queiroz (eds.), Artificial Cognition Systems. Idea Group Publishers. 27--63.
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  48. Johan Blomberg & Jordan Zlatev (2014). Actual and Non-Actual Motion: Why Experientialist Semantics Needs Phenomenology (and Vice Versa). [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3):395-418.
    Experientialist semantics has contributed to a broader notion of linguistic meaning by emphasizing notions such as construal, perspective, metaphor, and embodiment, but has suffered from an individualist concept of meaning and has conflated experiential motivations with conventional semantics. We argue that these problems can be redressed by methods and concepts from phenomenology, on the basis of a case study of sentences of non-actual motion such as “The mountain range goes all the way from Mexico to Canada.” Through a phenomenological reanalysis (...)
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  49. Vivian Bohl (2011). Milleks on sotsiaalse tunnetuse uurimisvaldkonnas tarvis filosoofiat? Studia Philosophica Estonica 4 (1):20-51.
    Käesoleva artikli eesmärgiks on selgitada, milline on ja peaks olema filosoofia panus sotsiaalse tunnetuse uurimisvaldkonnas. Vastustades kolme populaarset väidet, mille kohaselt filosoofiat ei ole teaduse tegemiseks tarvis, selgitan, kuidas filosoofid panustavad ning peaksid jätkuvalt panustama sotsiaalse tunnetuse uurimisse. Eraldi käsitlen mõtteliste eksperimentide rolli sotsiaalse tunnetuse uurimisel ning väidan, et kuigi klassikalised filosoofilised mõttelised eksperimendid ei sobi sotsiaalse tunnetuse valdkonna teaduslike probleemide lahendamiseks, tuleks rahvapsühholoogia uurimisel ulatuslikumalt rakendada eksperimentaalfilosoofilisi meetodeid. Väidan, et filosoofid analüüsivad sotsiaalse tunnetuse valdkonnas tehtud uurimistööd enamasti normatiivsetel eesmärkidel, (...)
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  50. John Elof Boodin (1941). The Social Mind. Philosophical Review 50 (3):332-334.
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