On the role of social interaction in social cognition: a mechanistic alternative to enactivism [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):467-486 (2012)
Researchers in the enactivist tradition have recently argued that social interaction can constitute social cognition, rather than simply serve as the context for social cognition. They contend that a focus on social interaction corrects the overemphasis on mechanisms inside the individual in the explanation of social cognition. I critically assess enactivism’s claims about the explanatory role of social interaction in social cognition. After sketching the enactivist approach to cognition in general and social cognition in particular, I identify problems with an enactivist taxonomy of roles for social interaction in the explanation of social cognition (contextual, enabling, and constitutive). In particular, I show that this enactivist taxonomy does not clearly distinguish between enabling conditions and constitutive elements, which would make them in danger of committing the coupling-constitution fallacy found in some attempts to extend cognition. I explore resources enactivism has to more clearly demarcate constitutive parts of a cognitive system, but identify problems in applying them to some of the main cases of social cognition enactivists characterize as being constituted by social interaction. I offer the mechanistic approach to explanation as an alternative that captures much of what enactivists want to say about the relations between social and individual levels, but views social interactions from the perspective of embedded cognition rather than as being constitutive of social cognition.
|Keywords||enactivism social cognition social interaction extended cognition embedded cognition mechanistic explanation|
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Evan Thompson (2007). Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind. Harvard University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Mattia Gallotti & Chris Frith (2013). Social Cognition in the We-Mode. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (4):160-165.
Daniel D. Hutto, Mitchell Herschbach & Victoria Southgate (2011). Editorial: Social Cognition: Mindreading and Alternatives. [REVIEW] Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (3):375-395.
Thomas Szanto & Dermot Moran (2015). Introduction: Empathy and Collective Intentionality—The Social Philosophy of Edith Stein. Human Studies 38 (4):445-461.
Søren Overgaard & John Michael (2013). The Interactive Turn in Social Cognition Research: A Critique. Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):160-183.
Julius Schönherr (forthcoming). What’s so Special About Interaction in Social Cognition? Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-18.
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