Beyond the flesh: Some lessons from a Mole cricket

Artificial Life 11 (1-2):233-44 (2005)
What do linguistic symbols do for minds like ours, and how (if at all) can basic embodied, dynamical and situated approaches do justice to high-level human thought and reason? These two questions are best addressed together, since our answers to the first may inform the second. The key move in ‘scaling-up’ simple embodied cognitive science is, I argue, to take very seriously the potent role of human-built structures in transforming the spaces of human learning and reason. In particular, in this paper I look at a range of cases involving what I dub ‘surrogate situations’. Here, we actively create restricted artificial environments that allow us to deploy basic perception-action- reason routines in the absence of their proper objects. Examples include the use of real-world models, diagrams and other concrete external symbols to support dense looping interactions with a variety of stable external structures that stand in for the absent states of affairs
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