Enactive theorists do it on purpose: Toward an enactive account of goals and goal-directedness [Book Review]

The enactive approach to cognitive science involves frequent references to “action” without making clear what is intended by the term. In particular, though autopoiesis is seen as a foundation for teleology in the enactive literature, no definition or account is offered of goals which can encompass not just descriptions of biological maintenance, but the range of social and cultural activities in which human beings continually engage. The present paper draws primarily on the work of Juarrero (Dynamics in action. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999) and Donald (Origins of the modern mind. London: Wiedenfeld & Nicolson, 1991) in an attempt to offer the broad outlines of an account of goals and goal-directedness which is consistent with the enactive approach and which explicates several forms of goal-directedness exhibited by human beings. Four stages of cognitive evolution described by Donald are examined for characteristic mechanisms of adaptivity and goal-directedness. Implications for an enactive theory of meaning are discussed
Keywords Goals  Enaction  Teleology  Meaning  Adaptivity  Action  Embodiment
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-007-9074-y
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Michael Bratman (1987). Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason. Center for the Study of Language and Information.

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