According to embodiedcognition, the philosophical and empirical literature on theory of mind is misguided. Embodiedcognition rejects the idea that social cognition requires theory of mind. It regards the intramural debate between the Theory Theory and the Simulation Theory as irrelevant, and it dismisses the empirical studies on theory of mind as ill conceived and misleading. Embodiedcognition provides a novel deflationary account of social cognition that does not depend on theory (...) of mind. In this chapter, l describe embodiedcognition’s alternative to theory of mind and discuss three challenges it faces. (shrink)
A central finding in experimental research identified with EmbodiedCognition (EC) is that understanding actions involves their embodied simulation, i.e. executing some processes involved in performing these actions. Extending these findings, I argue that reenactment – the overt embodied simulation of actions and practices, including especially communicative actions and practices, within utterances – makes it possible to forge an integrated EC-based account of linguistic meaning. In particular, I argue: (a) that remote entities can be referred to (...) by reenacting actions performed with them; (b) that the use of grammatical constructions can be conceived of as the reenactment of linguistic action routines; (c) that complex enunciational structures (reported speech, irony, etc.) involve a separate level of reenactment, on which characters are presented as interacting with one another within the utterance; (d) that the segmentation of long utterances into shorter units involves the reenactment of brief audience interventions between units; and (e) that the overall meaning of an utterance can be stated in reenactment terms. The notion of reenactment provides a conceptual framework for accounting for aspects of language that are usually thought to be outside the reach of EC in an EC framework, thus supporting a view of meaning and linguistic content as thoroughly grounded in action and interaction. (shrink)
In everyday life we often act adequately, yet without deliberation. For instance, we immediately obtain and maintain an appropriate distance from others in an elevator. The notion of normativity implied here is a very basic one, namely distinguishing adequate from inadequate, correct from incorrect, or better from worse in the context of a particular situation. In the ﬁrst part of this paper I investigate such ‘situated normativity’ by focusing on unreﬂective expert action. More particularly, I use Wittgenstein’s examples of craftsmen (...) (tailors and architects) absorbed in action to introduce situated normativity. Situated normativity can be understood as the normative aspect of embodiedcognition in unreﬂective skillful action. I develop Wittgenstein’s insight that a peculiar type of aﬀective behaviour, ‘directed discontent’, is essential for getting things right without reﬂection. Directed discontent is a reaction of appreciation in action and is introduced as a paradigmatic expression of situated normativity. In the second part I discuss Wittgenstein’s ideas on the normativity of what he calls ‘blind’ rule-following and the ‘bedrock’ of immediate action. What matters for understanding the normativity of (even ‘blind’) rule-following, is not that one has the capacity for linguistic articulation or reﬂection but that one is reliably participating in a communal custom. In the third part I further investigate the complex relationships between unreﬂective skillful action, perception, emotion, and normativity. Part of this entails an account of the link between normativity at the level of the expert’s socio-cultural practice and the individual’s situated and lived normativity. (shrink)
Recently, philosophers and psychologists defending the embodiedcognition research program have offered arguments against mindreading as a general model of our social understanding. The embodiedcognition arguments are of two kinds: those that challenge the developmental picture of mindreading and those that challenge the alleged ubiquity of mindreading. Together, these two kinds of arguments, if successful, would present a serious challenge to the standard account of human social understanding. In this paper, I examine the strongest of (...) these embodiedcognition arguments and argue that mindreading approaches can withstand the best of these arguments from embodiedcognition. (shrink)
EmbodiedCognition is the kind of view that is all trees, no forest. Mounting experimental evidence gives it momentum in fleshing out the theoretical problems inherent in Cognitivists’ separation of mind and body. But the more its proponents compile such evidence, the more the fundamental concepts of EmbodiedCognition remain in the dark. This conundrum is nicely exemplified by Pecher and Zwaan’s (2005) book, Grounding Cognition, which is a programmatic attempt to rally together an array (...) of empirical results and linguistic data, and its successes in this endeavor nicely epitomize current directions among the various research provinces of EmbodiedCognition. The untoward drawback, however, is that such successes are symptomatic of the growing imbalance between experimental progress and theoretical interrogation. In particular, one of the theoretical cornerstones of EmbodiedCognition—namely, the very concept of grounding under investigation here—continues to go unilluminated. Hence, the advent of this volume indicates that—now more than ever—the concept of grounding is in dire need of some plain old-fashioned conceptual analysis. In that sense, EmbodiedCognition is grounded until further notice. (shrink)
Cognition is embodied when it is deeply dependent upon features of the physical body of an agent, that is, when aspects of the agent's body beyond the brain play a significant causal or physically constitutive role in cognitive processing. In general, dominant views in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science have considered the body as peripheral to understanding the nature of mind and cognition. Proponents of embodied cognitive science view this as a serious mistake. Sometimes (...) the nature of the dependence of cognition on the body is quite unexpected, and suggests new ways of conceptualizing and exploring the mechanics of cognitive processing. Embodied cognitive science encompasses a loose-knit family of research programs in the cognitive sciences that often share a commitment to critiquing and even replacing traditional approaches to cognition and cognitive processing. Empirical research on embodiedcognition has exploded in the past 10 years. As the bibliography for this article attests, the various bodies of work that will be discussed represent a serious alternative to the investigation of cognitive phenomena. Relatively recent work on the embodiment of cognition provides much food for thought for empirically-informed philosophers of mind. This is in part because of the rich range of phenomena that embodied cognitive science has studied. But it is also in part because those phenomena are often thought to challenge dominant views of the mind, such as the computational and representational theories of mind, at the heart of traditional cognitive science. And they have sometimes been taken to undermine standard positions in the philosophy of mind, such as the idea that the mind is identical to, or even realized in, the brain. (shrink)
This essay proposes and defends a pluralistic theory of conceptual embodiment. Our concepts are represented in at least two ways: (i) through sensorimotor simulations of our interactions with objects and events and (ii) through sensorimotor simulations of natural language processing. Linguistic representations are “dis-embodied” in the sense that they are dynamic and multimodal but, in contrast to other forms of embodiedcognition, do not inherit semantic content from this embodiment. The capacity to store information in the associations (...) and inferential relationships among linguistic representations extends our cognitive reach and provides an explanation of our ability to abstract and generalize. This theory is supported by a number of empirical considerations, including the large body of evidence from cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology supporting a multiple semantic code explanation of imageability effects. (shrink)
While typically ignored by the cognitive sciences, Wittgenstein’s later work provides those defending embodiedcognition (EC) with essential philosophical tools that serve to strengthen the argument against cognitivism. Cognition, as Wittgenstein’s work demonstrates, is not simply a matter of disembodied intellect, but is actional, time-pressured, body-based, and dependent on the larger environment.
In this paper I evaluate embodied social cognition, embodiedcognition’s account of how we understand others. I identify and evaluate three claims that motivate embodied social cognition. These claims are not specific to social cognition; they are general hypotheses about cognition. As such, they may be used in more general arguments for embodiedcognition. I argue that we have good reasons to reject these claims. Thus, the case for embodied (...) social cognition fails. Moreover, to the extent that general arguments for embodiedcognition rest on these premises, they are correspondingly uncompelling. (shrink)
Embodied social cognition (ESC) aims to explicate how our embodiment shapes our knowledge of others, and in what this knowledge of others consists. Although there is much diversity amongst ESC accounts, common to all these accounts is the idea that our normal everyday interactions consist in non-mentalistic embodied engagements. In recent years, several theorists have developed and defended innovative and controversial accounts of ESC. These accounts challenge, and offer deflationary alternatives to, the standard cognitivist accounts of social (...)cognition. As ESC accounts grow in number and prominence, the time has come for a dedicated, sustained debate on ESC and its most controversial and innovative elements. The goal of this special issue is to host such a debate with the aim of bringing clarity to the discussion of social cognition. (shrink)
Embodiment and embeddedness define an attractive framework to the study of cognition. I discuss whether theory of mind, i.e. the ability to attribute mental states to others to predict and explain their behaviour, fits these two principles. In agreement with available evidence, embodied cognitive processes may underlie the earliest manifestations of social cognitive abilities such as infants’ selective behaviour in spontaneous-response false belief tasks. Instead, late theory-of-mind abilities, such as the capacity to pass the (elicited-response) false belief test (...) at age four, depend on children’s ability to explain people’s reasons to act in conversation with adults. Accordingly, rather than embodied, late theory-of-mind abilities are embedded in an external linguistic practice. (shrink)
Introduction: toward an understanding of embodiedcognition -- Standard cognitive science -- Challenging standard cognitive science -- Conceptions of embodiment -- Embodiedcognition: the conceptualization hypothesis -- Embodiedcognition: the replacement hypothesis -- Embodiedcognition: the constitution hypothesis -- Concluding thoughts.
This paper aims to do three things: First, to provide a review of John Staddon's book Adaptive dynamics: The theoretical analysis of behavior. Second, to compare Staddon's behaviorist view with current ideas on embodiedcognition. Third, to use this comparison to explicate some outlines for a theoretical analysis of behavior that could be useful as a behavioral foundation for cognitive phenomena. Staddon earlier defended a theoretical behaviorism, which allows internal states in its models but keeps these to a (...) minimum while remaining critical of any cognitive interpretation. In his latest book, Adaptive dynamics, he provides an overview and analysis of an extensive number of these current, behaviorist models. Theoretical behaviorism comes close to the view of embodiedcognition, which also stresses the importance of behavior in contrast to high-level cognition. A detailed picture of the overlaps and differences between the two approaches will be sketched by comparing the two on four separate issues: the conceptualization of behavior, loopy structures, parsimonious explanations, and cognitive behavior. The paper will stress the need for a structural analysis of behavior to gain a better understanding of both behavior and cognition. However, for this purpose, we will need behavioral science rather than behaviorism. (shrink)
Cognitive systems research has predominantly been guided by the historical distinction between emotion and cognition, and has focused its efforts on modelling the “cognitive” aspects of behaviour. While this initially meant modelling only the control system of cognitive creatures, with the advent of “embodied” cognitive science this expanded to also modelling the interactions between the control system and the external environment. What did not seem to change with this embodiment revolution, however, was the attitude towards affect and emotion (...) in cognitive science. This paper argues that cognitive systems research is now beginning to integrate these aspects of natural cognitive systems into cognitive science proper, not in virtue of traditional “embodied cognitive science”, which focuses predominantly on the body’s gross morphology, but rather in virtue of research into the interoceptive, organismic basis of natural cognitive systems. (shrink)
Embodiedcognition 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 of the claims being made by supporters. (shrink)
From the late 1950s until 1975, cognition was understood mainly as disembodied symbol manipulation in cognitive psychology, linguistics, artificial intelligence, and the nascent field of Cognitive Science. The idea of embodiedcognition entered the field of Cognitive Linguistics at its beginning in 1975. Since then, cognitive linguists, working with neuroscientists, computer scientists, and experimental psychologists, have been developing a neural theory of thought and language (NTTL). Central to NTTL are the following ideas: (a) we think with our (...) brains, that is, thought is physical and is carried out by functional neural circuitry; (b) what makes thought meaningful are the ways those neural circuits are connected to the body and characterize embodied experience; (c) so-called abstract ideas are embodied in this way as well, as is language. Experimental results in embodiedcognition are seen not only as confirming NTTL but also explained via NTTL, mostly via the neural theory of conceptual metaphor. Left behind more than three decades ago is the old idea that cognition uses the abstract manipulation of disembodied symbols that are meaningless in themselves but that somehow constitute internal “representations of external reality” without serious mediation by the body and brain. This article uniquely explains the connections between embodiedcognition results since that time and results from cognitive linguistics, experimental psychology, computational modeling, and neuroscience. (shrink)
We define a mathematical formalism based on the concept of an ‘‘open dynamical system” and show how it can be used to model embodiedcognition. This formalism extends classical dynamical systems theory by distinguishing a ‘‘total system’’ (which models an agent in an environment) and an ‘‘agent system’’ (which models an agent by itself), and it includes tools for analyzing the collections of overlapping paths that occur in an embedded agent's state space. To illustrate the way this formalism (...) can be applied, several neural network models are embedded in a simple model environment. Such phenomena as masking, perceptual ambiguity, and priming are then observed. We also use this formalism to reinterpret examples from the embodiment literature, arguing that it provides for a more thorough analysis of the relevant phenomena. (shrink)
Whether computational algorithms such as latent semantic analysis (LSA) can both extract meaning from language and advance theories of human cognition has become a topic of debate in cognitive science, whereby accounts of symbolic cognition and embodiedcognition are often contrasted. Albeit for different reasons, in both accounts the importance of statistical regularities in linguistic surface structure tends to be underestimated. The current article gives an overview of the symbolic and embodiedcognition accounts and (...) shows how meaning induction attributed to a specific statistical process or to activation of embodied representations should be attributed to language itself. Specifically, the performance of LSA can be attributed to the linguistic surface structure, more than special characteristics of the algorithm, and embodiment findings attributed to perceptual simulations can be explained by distributional linguistic information. (shrink)
The sensorimotor theory (Noe¨, 2004, in press) discusses a special instance of lack of perceptual experience despite no sensory impairment. The phenomenon dubbed “experiential blindness” is cited as evidence for a constitutive relation between sensorimotor skills and perceptual experience. Recently it has been objected (Adams & Aizawa, 2008; Aizawa, 2007) that the cases described by Noe¨ as experiential blindness are cases of pure sensory deficit. This paper argues that while the objections bring out limitations of Noe¨’s sensorimotor theory they do (...) not do enough to challenge a robust perception–action interdependence claim. There are genuine cases of experiential blindness and these are better explained by the hypothesis of the interdependence of perception and action rather than by a passive vision approach. The cases provide support for a strong thesis of embodiedcognition where ongoing sensorimotor dynamics non-trivially constrain perceptual content. (shrink)
In the past, notions of embodiment have been applied to robotics mainly in the realm of very simple robots, and supporting low-level mechanisms such as dynamics and navigation. In contrast, most human-like, interactive, and socially adept robotic systems turn away from embodiment and use amodal, symbolic, and modular approaches to cognition and interaction. At the same time, recent research in EmbodiedCognition (EC) is spanning an increasing number of complex cognitive processes, including language, nonverbal communication, learning, and (...) social behavior. This article suggests adopting a modern EC approach for autonomous robots interacting with humans. In particular, we present three core principles from EC that may be applicable to such robots: (a) modal perceptual representation, (b) action/perception and action/cognition integration, and (c) a simulation-based model of top-down perceptual biasing. We describe a computational framework based on these principles, and its implementation on two physical robots. This could provide a new paradigm for embodied human–robot interaction based on recent psychological and neurological findings. (shrink)
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 EmbodiedCognition, provides a concise guide to its principles, attitudes and goals, and identifies the physical grounding project as its central research focus.
EmbodiedCognition is an approach to cognition that departs from traditional cognitive science in its reluctance to conceive of cognition as computational and in its emphasis on the significance of an organism’s body in how and what the organism thinks. Three lines of embodiedcognition research are described and some thoughts on the future of embodiedcognition offered.
Traditionally, the language faculty was supposed to be a device that maps linguistic inputs to semantic or conceptual representations. These representations themselves were supposed to be distinct from the representations manipulated by the hearer.s perceptual and motor systems. Recently this view of language has been challenged by advocates of embodiedcognition. Drawing on empirical studies of linguistic comprehension, they have proposed that the language faculty reuses the very representations and processes deployed in perceiving and acting. I review some (...) of the evidence in favor of the embodied view of language comprehension, and argue that none of it is conclusive. Moreover, the embodied view itself blurs two important distinctions: first, the distinction between linguistic comprehension and its typical consequences; and second, the distinction between representational content and vehicles. Given that these distinctions are well-motivated, we have good reason to reject the embodied view of linguistic understanding. (shrink)
Traditionally, the language faculty was supposed to be a device that maps linguistic inputs to semantic or conceptual representations. These representations themselves were supposed to be distinct from the representations manipulated by the hearer’s perceptual and motor systems. Recently this view of language has been challenged by advocates of embodiedcognition. Drawing on empirical studies of linguistic comprehension, they have proposed that the language faculty reuses the very representations and processes deployed in perceiving and acting. I review some (...) of the evidence and arguments in favor of the embodied view of language comprehension, and argue that none of it is conclusive. Moreover, the embodied view itself blurs two important distinctions: first, the distinction between linguistic comprehension and its typical consequences; and second, the distinction between representational content and vehicles. Given that these distinctions are well-motivated, we have good reason to reject the embodied view of linguistic understanding. (shrink)
We present a specific elaboration and partial defense of the claims that cognition is enactive, embodied, embedded, affective and (potentially) extended. According to the view we will defend, the enactivist claim that perception and cognition essentially depend upon the cognizer’s interactions with their environment is fundamental. If a particular instance of this kind of dependence obtains, we will argue, then it follows that cognition is essentially embodied and embedded, that the underpinnings of cognition are (...) inextricable from those of affect, that the phenomenon of cognition itself is essentially bound up with affect, and that the possibility of cognitive extension depends upon the instantiation of a specific mode of skillful interrelation between cognizer and environment. Thus, if cognition is enactive then it is also embodied, embedded, affective and potentially extended. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Andy Clark (2008) has argued that the literature on embodiedcognition reveals a tension between two prominent strands within this movement. On the one hand, there are those who endorse what Clark refers to as body-centrism, a view which emphasizes the special contribution made by the body to a creature’s mental life. Among other things, body centrism implies that significant differences in embodiment translate into significant differences in cognition and consciousness. On the other (...) hand, there are those who endorse what Clark calls extended functionalism, a view which sees the mind as the joint product of the computational resources presented by (i) intracranial processing, (ii) bodily input, and (iii) environmental scaffolding. As such, extended functionalism allows for the possibility that any contribution of the body to cognition and consciousness can be compensated for by the other two contributing factors. While Clark’s sympathies lie with the latter approach, we argue in favour of the former. In particular, we focus on consciousness and argue that the unique contribution the body makes to a creature’s manifold of phenomenal experience cannot be compensated for, in the manner, and on the scale, that Clark envisages. (shrink)
EmbodiedCognition 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 eastern mysticism, just to name a few, EC has both benefited and suffered from a wealth of different and often incompatible ideas about who and what it is, what it should do with its life, even what language it should speak. Gallagher brings some cohesion and consistency to this situation, not by surveying and synthesizing these competing approaches, but by focusing on some fundamental issues, and carefully marshalling the evidence and developing the vocabulary to thoroughly consider them. (shrink)
Upshot: In his latest book, Lawrence Shapiro analyzes three main themes of embodiedcognition that are claimed to make it distinct from traditional, disembodied research on cognition. The author provides a lucid comparison of the “old” and the “new” cognitive science, thereby often referring to enactivism, which most certainly makes his book interesting for constructivists.
Reaching in the A-not-B situation is not the product of a single person, but rather of a person-person system. We argue that models of embodiedcognition distributed over persons may be necessary to capture the essential qualities of evolving behaviors, even those as simple as perseverative reaching.
I consider how we might begin to redress a cognitive model for thought experimental and other imagery-based scientific reasoning from an embodiedcognition viewpoint. The paper gravitates on clarifying tour issues: (i) the danger of understanding the genuine novelty of thought-experimental reasoning and other imagery-based reasoning as a product of ‘quasi-perceiving’ new phenomenology with the ‘mind’s eye’ (as asserted by quasi-pictorialist theories of imagery); (ii) the erroneous choice of units of analysis that assume equivalence of external reports of (...) visual imagery with those internal structures that govern imagery-based reasoning, which are, as I will argue, largely linked to motor processes; (iii) the establishment of thought experimentation as imagery-based reasoning by providing evidence for the psychological necessity of imagistic simulation in thought experiments; (iv) a cognitive model for how learning via thought experimentation and other imagery-based reasoning takes place. The study was underpinned by constructivist assumptions. Case methodology was adopted, the case being a pair of final year A-level physics students. Data was collected through non-participant observation over two sessions of collaborative problem-solving. The tasks drew upon Newtonian mechanics. (shrink)
Memory dynamics need both stable and unstable properties simultaneously. Hence memory dynamics cannot be simulated by chaotic itinerant dynamics alone, with no real world correspondence. Memory dynamics are constrained by both semantics and causalities in the embodiedcognition.
The theory of embodiedcognition can provide HCI practitioners and theorists with new ideas about interac-tion and new principles for better designs. I support this claim with four ideas about cognition: (1) interacting with tools changes the way we think and perceive – tools, when manipulated, are soon absorbed into the body schema, and this absorption leads to fundamental changes in the way we perceive and conceive of our environments; (2) we think with our bodies not just (...) with our brains; (3) we know more by doing than by seeing – there are times when physically performing an activity is better than watching someone else perform the activity, even though our motor resonance system fires strongly during other person observa-tion; (4) there are times when we literally think with things. These four ideas have major implications for interaction design, especially the design of tangible, physical, context aware, and telepresence systems. (shrink)
Abstract In this article, we investigate the merits of an enactive view of cognition for the contemporary debate about social cognition. If enactivism is to be a genuine alternative to classic cognitivism, it should be able to bridge the “cognitive gap”, i.e. provide us with a convincing account of those higher forms of cognition that have traditionally been the focus of its cognitivist opponents. We show that, when it comes to social cognition, current articulations of enactivism (...) are—despite their celebrated successes in explaining some cases of social interaction—not yet up to the task. This is because they (1) do not pay sufficient attention to the role of offline processing or “decoupling”, and (2) obscure the cognitive gap by overemphasizing the role of phenomenology. We argue that the main challenge for the enactive view will be to acknowledge the importance of both coupled (online) and decoupled (offline) processes for basic and advanced forms of (social) cognition. To meet this challenge, we articulate a dynamic embodied view of cognition. We illustrate the fruitfulness of this approach by recourse to recent findings on false belief understanding. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-23 DOI 10.1007/s11097-011-9223-1 Authors Leon C. de Bruin, Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany Lena Kästner, Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany Journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences Online ISSN 1572-8676 Print ISSN 1568-7759. (shrink)
Abstract In this paper, I examine the plausibility of Embodied Accounts of Social Cognition by finding fault with the most detailed and convincing version of such an account, as articulated by Daniel Hutto ( 2008 ). I argue that this account fails to offer a plausible ontogeny for folk psychological abilities due to its inability to address recent evidence from implicit false belief tasks that suggest a radically different timeline for the development of these abilities. Content Type Journal (...) Article Pages 1-18 DOI 10.1007/s11097-011-9213-3 Authors J. Robert Thompson, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box JS, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA Journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences Online ISSN 1572-8676 Print ISSN 1568-7759. (shrink)
Both cognitive science and phenomenology accept the primacy of the organism-environment system and recognize that cognition should be understood in terms of an embodied agent situated in its environment. How embodiment is seen to shape our world, however, is fundamentally different in these two disciplines. Embodiment, as understood in cognitive science, reduces to a discussion of the consequences of having a body like ours interacting with our environment and the relationship is one of contingent causality. Embodiment, as understood (...) phenomenologically, represents the condition of intelligibility of certain terms in our experience and, as such, refers to one aspect of that background which presupposes our understanding of the world. The goals and approach to modeling an embodied agent in its environment are also fundamentally different dependent on which relationship is addressed. These differences are highlighted and are used to support our phenomenologically based approach to organism-environment interaction and its relationship to brain function. (shrink)
The dominant account of agency takes actions to be brought about and guided by intentions that represent the agent's performance of the action. Merleau-Ponty offers an alternative view that denies intentions are essential for action. He holds instead that the agent's activity is brought about by her apprehension of her environment, without the need for any intervening thoughts that represent her performance of it. I argue that two considerations advanced in favour of the thesis that human cognition is (...) class='Hi'>embodied are in tension with the dominant account of agency, and speak in favour of Merleau-Ponty's view. (shrink)
A considerable body of recent work in developmental psychology and animal behavior has addressed the cognitive processes required to recognize oneself in a mirror. Most models of such "mirrored self-recognition" (MSR) treat it as the result of inferential processes drawing on the subject’s possession of some sort of mature "self-awareness". The present chapter argues that such an approach to MSR is not obligatory, and suggests some empirical grounds for rejecting it. We also sketch the outlines of an alternative, "embodied" (...) theory of MSR, and propose a way to evaluate it using the tools of adaptive robotics. (shrink)
We argue that the strengths of the Theory of Event Coding (TEC) can usefully be applied to a wider scope of cognitive tasks, and tested by more diverse methodologies. When allied with a theory of conceptual representation such as Barsalou's (1999a) perceptual symbol systems, and extended to data from eye-movement studies, the TEC has the potential to address the larger goals of an embodied view of cognition.
The dynamic approach to understanding of the human consciousness, its cognitive activities and cognitive architecture is one of the most promising approaches in the modern epistemology and cognitive science. The conception of embodied mind is under discussion in the light of nonlinear dynamics and of the idea co-evolution of complex systems developed by the Moscow scientific school. The cognitive architecture of the embodied mind is rather complex: data from senses and products of rational thinking, the verbal and the (...) pictorial, logic and intuition, the analytical and synthetic abilities of perception and of thinking, the local and the global, the analogue and the digital, the archaic and the post-modern are intertwined in it. In the process of cognition, co-evolution of embodied mind as an autopoietic system and its surroundings takes place. The perceptual and mental processes are bound up with the structure of human body. Nonlinear and circular connecting links between the subject of cognition and the world constructed by him can be metaphorically called a nonlinear cobweb of cognition. Cognition is an autopoietic activity because it is directed to the search of elements that are missed; it serves to completing integral structures. According to the theory of blow-up regimes in complex systems elaborated by Sergey P.Kudyumov and his followers, the idea of co-evolution is connected with the concept of tempoworlds. To co-evolve means to start to develop in one and the same tempoworld and to use the possibility – in case of a proper intergation into a whole structure – to accelerate the tempo of evolution. The cognitive activities of the human being can be considered as a movement (active walk) in landscapes of co-evolution when he cognizes and changes environment and is changed himself by the very activities. The similar conclusion can be drawn from Francisco Varela’s conception of enactive cognition. (shrink)
One of the central insights of the embodiedcognition (EC) movement is that cognition is closely tied to action. In this paper, I formulate an EC-inspired hypothesis concerning social cognition. In this domain, most think that our capacity to understand and interact with one another is best explained by appeal to some form of mindreading. I argue that prominent accounts of mindreading likely contain a significant lacuna. Evidence indicates that what I call an agent’s actional processes (...) and states—her goals, needs, intentions, desires, and so on—likely play important roles in and for mindreading processes. If so, a full understanding of mindreading processes and their role in cognition more broadly will require an understanding of how actional mental processes interact with, influence, or take part in mindreading processes. (shrink)
Although the enactive approach has been very successful in explaining many basic social interactions in terms of embodied practices, there is still much work to be done when it comes to higher forms of social cognition. In this article, we discuss and evaluate two recent proposals by Shaun Gallagher and Daniel Hutto that try to bridge this ‘cognitive gap’ by appealing to the notion of narrative practice. Although we are enthusiastic about these proposals, we argue that (i) it (...) is difficult to see them as continuous with the enactivist notion of direct coupling, and (ii) the failure to account for folk psychological action interpretation suggests that the enactive approach should adopt a broader notion of coupling. (shrink)
Simulation theories of social cognition abound in the literature, but it is often unclear what simulation means and how it works. The discovery of mirror neurons, responding both to action execution and observation, suggested an embodied approach to mental simulation. Over the last years this approach has been hotly debated and alternative accounts have been proposed. We discuss these accounts and argue that they fail to capture the uniqueness of embodied simulation (ES). ES theory provides a unitary (...) account of basic social cognition, demonstrating that people e their own mental states or processes represented with a bodily format in functionally attributing them to others. (shrink)
Theories of embodiedcognition abound in the literature, but it is often unclear how to understand them. We offer several interpretations of embodiment, the most interesting being the thesis that mental representations in bodily formats (B-formats) have an important role in cognition. Potential B-formats include motoric, somatosensory, affective and interoceptive formats. The literature on mirroring and related phenomena provides support for a limited-scope version of embodied social cognition under the B-format interpretation. It is questionable, however, (...) whether such a thesis can be extended. We show the limits of embodiment in social cognition. (shrink)
I argue that proponents of embodied social cognition (ESC) can usefully supplement their views if they enlist the help of an unlikely ally: Daniel Dennett. On Dennett’s view, human social cognition involves adopting the intentional stance (IS), i.e., assuming that an interpretive target’s behavior is an optimally rational attempt to fulfill some desire relative to her beliefs. Characterized this way, proponents of ESC would reject any alliance with Dennett. However, for Dennett, to attribute mental states from the (...) intentional stance is not to attribute concrete, unobservable mental causes of behavior. Once this is appreciated, the kinship between IS—understood as a model of our quotidian interpretive practices—and ESC is apparent: both assume that quotidian interpretation involves tracking abstract, observable, behavioral patterns, not attributing unobservable, concrete, mental causes, i.e., both assume social cognition is possible without metapsychology. I argue that this affinity constitutes an opportunity: proponents of ESC can use IS as a characterization of the subpersonal basis for social cognition. In the process, I make my interpretation of IS more precise and relate it to current empirical literature in developmental psychology. (shrink)
TEST is a novel taxonomy of knowledge representations based on three distinct hierarchically organized representational features: Tropism, Embodiment, and Situatedness. Tropic representational features reflect constraints of the physical world on the agent's ability to form, reactivate, and enrich embodied (i.e., resulting from the agent's bodily constraints) conceptual representations embedded in situated contexts. The proposed hierarchy entails that representations can, in principle, have tropic features without necessarily having situated and/or embodied features. On the other hand, representations that are situated (...) and/or embodied are likely to be simultaneously tropic. Hence, although we propose tropism as the most general term, the hierarchical relationship between embodiment and situatedness is more on a par, such that the dominance of one component over the other relies on the distinction between offline storage versus online generation as well as on representation-specific properties. (shrink)
There has been a lot of strong evidence showing that human cognition works not in a central processing way but in a distributed way. As well known, human brain processes huge information in a parallel and distributed way. Recently cognitive scientists have contended that the minds are embodied in environment. These two ideas of distribution in cognition and embodiment in the mind can go along overall, but there is a tension between them in some specific respects, especially (...) in the matter of representation. The aim of this paper is to examine the possibility of the embodied distributed cognition by focusing on the concept of mental representation. Firstly, I shall examine the nature of embodied mind and distributed cognition. Secondly I shall make a distinction between those ideas that the notion of embodiment can be confined to the mind but the notion of distribution can be applied to both the mind and to its environment. This implies a difference of applicability of those notions. That is, while the suitable application domain of the latter is scientific cognition, that of the former is our mind. This difference can throw light upon untangling the dispute between Churchland's internalism and Giere's externalism of presentation. (shrink)
Embodied and extended cognition is a relatively new paradigm within cognitive science that challenges the basic tenet of classical cognitive science, viz. cognition consists in building and manipulating internal representations. Some of the pioneers of embodied cognitive science have claimed that this new way of conceptualizing cognition puts pressure on epistemological and ontological realism. In this paper I will argue that such anti-realist conclusions do not follow from the basic assumptions of radical embodied cognitive (...) science. Furthermore I will show that one can develop a form of realism that reflects rather than just accommodates the core principles of non-representationalist embodied cognitive science. (shrink)
In everyday life, situations in which we act adequately yet entirely without deliberation are ubiquitous. We use the term “situated normativity” for the normative aspect of embodiedcognition in skillful action. Wittgenstein’s notion of “directed discontent” refers to a context-sensitive reaction of appreciation in skillful action. Extending this notion from the domain of expertise to that of adequate everyday action, we examine phenomenologically the question of what happens when skilled individuals act correctly with instinctive ease. This question invites (...) exploratory contributions from a variety of perspectives complementary to the philosophical/ phenomenological one, including cognitive neuroscience, neurodynamics and psychology. Along such lines we try to make the normative aspect of adequate immediate action better accessible to empirical research. After introducing the idea that “valence” is a forerunner of directed discontent, we propose to make progress on this by first pursuing a more restricted exploratory question, namely, ‘what happens in the first few hundred milliseconds of the development of directed discontent?’. (shrink)
Unifying traditional cognitive science is the idea that thinking is a process of symbol manipulation, where symbols lead both a syntactic and a semantic life. The syntax of a symbol comprises those properties in virtue of which the symbol undergoes rule-dictated transformations. The semantics of a symbol constitute the symbolsÕ meaning or representational content. Thought consists in the syntactically determined manipulation of symbols, but in a way that respects their semantics. Thus, for instance, a calculating computer sensitive only to the (...) shape of symbols might produce the symbol Ô5Õ in response to the inputs Ô2Õ, Ô+Õ, and Ô3Õ. As far as the computer is concerned, these symbols have no meaning, but because of its program it will produce outputs that, to the user, Òmake senseÓ given the meanings the user attributes to the symbols. (shrink)
Borrett, Kelly, and Kwan follow the lead of Merleau-Ponty and develop a theory of neural-network modeling that emerges out of what they find wrong with current approaches to thought and action. Specifically, they take issue with "cognitivism" and its tendency to model cognitive agents as controlling, representational systems. While attempting to make the point that pre-predicative experience/action/place (i.e. grasping) involves neither representation nor control, the authors imply that control-theoretic concepts and representationalism necessarily go hand-in-hand. The purpose of the present paper (...) is to demonstrate that this is not the case. Rather, it will be argued that such necessity is only assumed because the authors attempt to apply the control theory of servo-mechanisms to the behavior of organisms. By adopting this engineering control-theoretic perspective, the authors are led, as are most of the cognitivists with whom they disagree, to overlook critical aspects of how it is that biological systems do what they do. It is the ignoring of these critical aspects of biological control, due to the acceptance of an engineering approach to control, that makes it appear as though control theory and representationalism necessarily go hand-in-hand. (shrink)
Thelen et al. present a convincing explanation of the A-not-B error, but contrary to their own claims, their explanation essentially involves mental representations. As is too common among cognitive scientists, they equate mental representations with representations of external physical objects. They clearly show, however, that representations of bodily actions on physical objects are central to the dynamical system producing the error.
Andy Clark's Supersizing the Mind begins as a manifesto in which the components of an embodied theory of mind are carefully moved into place, proceeds to a defense of these components from recent critical attacks, and ends with words of caution to those who would seek to extract too much from the embodied perspective. Readers unfamiliar with Clark's earlier works are likely to find the result dazzling -- an exciting, novel, and coherent conception of the mind that dares (...) one to abandon nearly every vestige of a comfortably Cartesian view of mind. Of course, philosophers of mind have, for the most part, already jettisoned the idea that minds are an ethereal sort of non-physical substance. We can now assert with no great temerity that Descartes was wrong about that. Even so, one might still agree with Descartes that minds are in some sense distinct from bodies. They are, as it were, in the head. Yet, if Clark's case for embodiment is on track, minds are not in the head. The supervenience base for a mind (and not simply mental content) can include pieces of the extracranial body and, indeed, objects in the world beyond. (shrink)
This commentary raises three questions about the target article: What are pointers or deictic devices? Why insist on deictic codes for cognition rather than deixis simpliciter? And in what sense is cognitionembodied, on this view?
Grush makes extensive use of von Holst and Mittelstaedt's (1950) efference copy hypothesis. Although his embellishment of the model is admirably more sophisticated than that of its progenitors, I argue that it still suffers from the same conceptual limitations as entailed in its original formulation.
We present a spatial system called Specialized Egocentrically Coordinated Spaces embedded in an embodied cognitive architecture (ACT-R Embodied). We show how the spatial system works by modeling two different developmental findings: gaze-following and Level 1 perspective taking. The gaze-following model is based on an experiment by Corkum and Moore (1998), whereas the Level 1 visual perspective-taking model is based on an experiment by Moll and Tomasello (2006). The models run on an embodied robotic system.
Embodied cognitive science has argued that cognition is embodied principally in virtue of grossmorphological and sensorimotor features. This thesis argues that cognition is also internally embodied in affective and fine-grained physiological features whose transformative roles remain mostlyunnoticed in contemporary cognitive science. I call this ‘proper embodiment’. I approach this larger subject by examining various emotion theories in philosophy and psychology. These tend to emphasiseone of the many gross components of emotional processes, such as ‘feeling’ or (...) ‘judgement’ to thedetriment of the others, often leading to an artificial emotion-cognition distinction even within emotionscience itself. Attempts to reconcile this by putting the gross components back together, such as JessePrinz’s “embodied appraisal theory”, are, I argue, destined to failure because the vernacular concept of emotion which is used as the explanandum is not a natural kind and is not amenable to scientificexplication.I examine Antonio Damasio’s proposal that emotion is involved in paradigmatic ‘cognitive’ processingsuch as rational decision making, and argue (1) that the research he discusses does not warrant the particular hypothesis he favours, and (2) that Damasio’s account, though in many ways a step in theright direction, nonetheless continues to endorse a framework which sees affect and cognition asseparate (though now highly interacting) faculties. I further argue that the conflation of ‘affect’ and‘emotion’ may be the source of some confusion in emotion theory and that affect needs to be properlydistinguished from ‘emotion’. I examine some dissociations in the pain literature which give us further empirical evidence that, as with the emotions, affect is a distinct component along with more cognitive elements of pain. I then argue that affect is distinctive in being grounded in homeostatic regulativeactivity in the body proper.With the distinction between affect, emotion, and cognition in hand, and the associated grounding of affect in bodily activity, I then survey evidence that bodily affect is also involved in perception and in paradigmatic cognitive processes such as attention and executive function. I argue that this relation isnot ‘merely’ casual. Instead, affect (grounded in fine-grained details of internal bodily activity) is partially constitutive of cognition, participating in cognitive processing and contributing to perceptualand cognitive phenomenology. Finally I review some work in evolutionary robotics which reaches asimilar conclusion, suggesting that the particular fine details of embodiment, such as molecular signalling between both neural and somatic cells matters to cognition. I conclude that cognition is‘properly embodied’ in that it is partially constituted by the many fine-grained bodily processesinvolved in affect (as demonstrated in the thesis) and plausibly by a wide variety of other fine-grained bodily processes that likewise tend to escape the net of contemporary cognitive science. (shrink)
Advocates of extended cognition argue that the boundaries of cognition span brain, body, and environment. Critics maintain that cognitive processes are confined to a boundary centered on the individual. All participants to this debate require a criterion for distinguishing what is internal to cognition from what is external. Yet none of the available proposals are completely successful. I offer a new account, the mutual manipulability account, according to which cognitive boundaries are determined by relationships of mutual manipulability (...) between the properties and activities of putative components and the overall behavior of the cognitive mechanism in which they figure. Among its main advantages, this criterion is capable of (a) distinguishing components of cognition from causal background conditions and lower-level correlates, and (b) showing how the core hypothesis of extended cognition can serve as a legitimate empirical hypothesis amenable to experimental test and confirmation. Conceiving the debate in these terms transforms the current clash over extended cognition into a substantive empirical debate resolvable on the basis of evidence from cognitive science and neuroscience. (shrink)
The modern conception of enactive cognition is under discussion from the standpoint concerning the notions of nonlinear dynamics and synergetics. The contribution of Francisco Varela and his precursors is considered. It is shown that the perceptual and mental processes are bound up with the “architecture” of human body and nonlinear and circular connecting links between the subject of cognition and the world constructed by him can be metaphorically called a nonlinear cobweb of cognition. Cognition is an (...) autopoietic activity because it is directed to the search of elements that are missed; it serves to completing integral structures. (shrink)
Author comments Rick Grush’s statements about emulation and embodied approach to representation. He proposes his modification of Grush’s definition of emulation, criticizing notion of “standing in for”. He defends of notion of representation. He claims that radical embodied theories are not applicable to all cognition.
There are important structural similarities in the way that animals and humans engage in unreflective activities, including unreflective social interactions in the case of higher animals. Firstly, it is a form of unreflective embodied intelligence that is ‘motivated’ by the situation. Secondly, both humans and non-human animals are responsive to ‘affordances’ (Gibson 1979); to possibilities for action offered by an environment. Thirdly, both humans and animals are selectively responsive to one affordance rather than another. Social affordances are a subcategory (...) of affordances, namely possibilities for social interaction offered by an environment: a friend’s sad face invites comforting behavior, a person waiting for a coffee machine can afford a conversation, and an extended hand affords a handshake. I will review recent insights in the nature of the bodily intentionality characteristic of unreflective action. Such ‘motor intentionality’ can be characterized as “our direct bodily inclination to act in a situated, environmental context” (Kelly 2005, p. 106). Standard interpretations of bodily intentionality see grasping an object as the paradigmatic example of motor intentionality. I will discuss the implications of another, novel perspective that emphasizes the importance of unreflective switches from one activity to another (Rietveld 2004) and understands bodily intentionality in terms of adequate responsiveness to a field of relevant affordances. In the final section I will discuss some implications for cognitive neuroscientists who use empirical findings related to the ‘mirror neuron system’ as a starting point for a theory of motor intentionality and social cognition. (shrink)
in Jeremy McKenna (ed), At the Boundaries of Cricket, to be published in 2007 as a special issue of the journal Sport in Society and as a book in the series Sport in the Global Society (Taylor and Francis).
In a recent contribution to this journal, Andrew Fenton and Sheri Alpert have argued that the so-called “extended mind hypothesis” allows us to understand why Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) have the potential to change the self of patients suffering from Locked-in syndrome (LIS) by extending their minds beyond their bodies. I deny that this can shed any light on the theoretical, or philosophical, underpinnings of BCIs as a tool for enabling communication with, or bodily action by, patients with LIS: BCIs (...) are not a case of cognitive extension. I argue that Fenton and Alpert’s claim to the contrary is the result of a widespread confusion about some related, but significantly different, approaches to cognition that all fall under the heading of “situated cognition.” I first provide a short taxonomy of various situated approaches to cognition, highlighting (some of) their important commonalities and differences, which should dissolve some of the confusions surrounding them. Then I show why the extended mind hypothesis is unsuitable as a model of BCI enhancements of LIS patients’ capacity to interact with their surroundings, and I argue that the situated approach with obvious bearings on the sort of questions that were driving Fenton and Alpert is not the idea that cognition is extended , but the idea that cognition is enacted. (shrink)
The author argues for three interconnected theses which provide a cognitive account for why humans intuitively believe that others survive death. The first thesis, from which the second and third theses follow, is that the acceptance of afterlife beliefs is predisposed by a specific, and already well-documented, imaginative process - the offline social reasoning process. The second thesis is that afterlife beliefs are social in nature. The third thesis is that the living imagine the deceased as socially embodied in (...) such a way as to continue to fulfill on-going social obligations with others. The author further suggests six reasons why the fantasy/reality distinction breaks down for the imaginer such that the continued existence of the decedent in the afterlife is believed to be real. Finally, the author suggests avenues for further research which would support this cognitive account. (shrink)
Language understanding is one of the most important characteristics for human beings. As a pervasive phenomenon in natural language, metaphor is not only an essential thinking approach, but also an ingredient in human conceptual system. Many of our ways of thinking and experiences are virtually represented metaphorically. With the development of the cognitive research on metaphor, it is urgent to formulate a computational model for metaphor understanding based on the cognitive mechanism, especially with the view to promoting natural language understanding. (...) Many works have been done in pragmatics and cognitive linguistics, especially the discussions on metaphor understanding process in pragmatics and metaphor mapping representation in cognitive linguistics. In this paper, a theoretical framework for metaphor understanding based on the embodied mechanism of concept inquiry is proposed. Based on this framework, ontology is introduced as the knowledge representation method in metaphor understanding, and metaphor mapping is formulated as ontology mapping. In line with the conceptual blending theory, a revised conceptual blending framework is presented by adding a lexical ontology and context as the fifth mental space, and a metaphor mapping algorithm is proposed. (shrink)
Upshot: The fact that both “consciousness” and “music” are quite elusive terms makes the attempt to explain the nature (or even the existence of) “musical consciousness” a compelling quest. The papers in this book tackle these problems in an engaging way, ranging from sociology of music to drug altered music cognition. Some also apply enactive and ecological approaches to music cognition, which makes the book an interesting read for constructivists.
It is often claimed that the discovery of mirror neurons supports simulation theory (ST). There has been much controversy about this, however, as there are various competing models of the functional contribution of mirror systems, only some of which characterize mirroring as simulation in the sense required by ST. But a brief review of these models reveals that they all include simulation in some sense . In this paper, I propose that the broader conception of simulation articulated by neo-empiricist theories (...) of concepts can subsume the more specific conceptions of simulation presented by ST and by these other models, thereby offering a framework in which each of these models may play a role. According to neo-empiricism, conceptual thought in general involves simulation in the sense that it is grounded in sensory, motor, and other embodied systems (Barsalou, Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 22 , 577–609, 1999 , Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences , 364 , 1281–1289, 2009 ; Barsalou et al., Trends in Cognitive Sciences , 7 (2), 84–91, 2003 ; Prinz 2002 , Mind & Language , 25 (5), 612–621, 2010 ; Glenberg and Robertson, Journal of Memory and Language , 43 , 379–401, 2000 ). Crucially, the term “simulation” here refers not to simulations of a target agent’s experience in the sense endorsed by simulation theory but to the activation of sensory, motor, affective, and introspective representations. This difference does not entail that neo-empiricism must be in competition with ST—indeed, I will propose that ST can be embedded as a special case within neo-empiricism. (shrink)
Editors’ note: These four interrelated discussions of the role of the cerebellum in coordinating emotional and higher cognitive functions developed out of a workshop presented by the four authors for the 2000 Conference of the Cognitive Science Society at the University of Pennsylvania. The four interrelated discussions explore the implications of the recent explosion of cerebellum research suggesting an expanded cerebellar role in higher cognitive functions as well as in the coordination of emotional functions with learning, logical thinking, perceptual consciousness, (...) and action planning. (shrink)
Cognitive theory (CT) is currently the most widely acknowledged framework used to describe the psychological processes in affective disorders like depression. The purpose of this paper is to assess the philosophical assumptions upon which CT rests. It is argued that CT must be revised due to significant flaws in many of these philosophical assumptions. The paper contains suggestions as to how these problems could be overcome in a manner that would secure philosophical accuracy, while also providing an account that is (...) better suited to explaining some of the cognitive, emotional, and bodily manifestations of affective disorders. (shrink)
Many current programs for cognitive science sail under the banner of “embodiedcognition.” These programs typically seek to distance themselves from standard cognitive science. The present proposal for a conception of embodiedcognition is less radical than most, indeed, quite compatible with many versions of traditional cognitive science. Its rationale is based on two elements, each of which is theoretically plausible and empirically well-founded. The first element invokes the idea of “bodily formats,” i.e., representational codes primarily (...) utilized in forming interoceptive or directive representations of one’s bodily states and activities. The second element appeals to wideranging evidence that the brain reuses or redeploys cognitive processes having different original uses. When the redeployment theme is applied to bodily formats of representation, they jointly provide for the possibility that body-coded cognition is a very pervasive sector of cognition. (shrink)
Recent years have seen the emergence of a new interdisciplinary field called embodied or enactive cognitive science. Whereas traditional representationalism rests on a fixed insideâoutside distinction, the embodiedcognition perspective views mind and brain as a biological system that is rooted in body experience and interaction with other individuals. Embodiment refers to both the embedding of cognitive processes in brain circuitry and to the origin of these processes in an organismâs sensoryâmotor experience. Thus, action and perception are (...) no longer interpreted in terms of the classic physicalâmental dichotomy, but rather as closely interlinked. This paper describes the cycles of brainâorganism interaction, of sensoryâmotor interaction with the environment and of embodied interaction with others. The brain is then interpreted as an organ of modulation and transformation that mediates the cycles of organismâenvironment interaction. Finally, consequences of the embodied and enactive approach for psychiatry are pointed out, in particular for a circular concept of mental illness. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Series Editors' Preface -- Acknowledgements -- Introduction -- The Essential Embodiment Thesis -- Essentially Embodied, Desire-Based Emotions -- Sense of Self,_Embodiment, and Desire-Based Emotions -- The Role of Emotion in Decision and Moral Evaluation -- Essentially Embodied, Emotive, Enactive Social Cognition -- Breakdowns in Embodied Emotive Cognition -- Conclusion -- Notes -- References -- Index.
The paper presents and discusses the “which-is-which content of handedness,” the meaning of left as left and right as right, as a possible candidate for the idea of a genuine embodied cognitive content. After showing that the Ozma barrier, the non-transferability of the meaning of left and right, provides a kind of proof of the non-descriptive, indexical nature of the which-is-which content of handedness, arguments are presented which suggest that the classical representationalist account of cognition faces a perplexing (...) problem of underdetermination of reference of left and right in the which-is-which sense. By way of contrast, no such problems occur in a framework were embodied contents are not mediated by some extra body model which carries the representational power, but are instead directly represented. (shrink)
This paper explores some of the constructive dimensions and specifics of human theoretic cognition, combining perspectives from (Husserlian) genetic phenomenology and distributed cognition approaches. I further consult recent psychological research concerning spatial and numerical cognition. The focus is on the nexus between the theoretic development of abstract, idealized geometrical and mathematical notions of space and the development and effective use of environmental cognitive support systems. In my discussion, I show that the evolution of the theoretic cognition (...) of space apparently follows two opposing, but in truth, intrinsically aligned trajectories. On the epistemic plane, which is the main focus of Husserl’s genetic phenomenological investigations, theoretic conceptions of space are progressively constituted by way of an idealizing emancipation of spatial cognition from the concrete, embodied intentionality underlying the human organism’s perception of space. As a result of this emancipation, it ultimately becomes possible for the human mind to theoretically conceive of and posit space as an ideal entity that is universally geometrical and mathematical. At the same time, by synthesizing a range of literature on spatial and mathematical cognition, I illustrate that for the theoretic mind to undertake precisely this emancipating process successfully, and further, for an ideal and objective notion of geometrical and mathematical space to first of all become fully scientifically operative, the cognitive support provided by a range of specific symbolic technologies is central. These include lettered diagrams, notation systems, and more generally, the technique of formalization and require for their functioning various cognitively efficacious types of embodiment. Ultimately, this paper endeavors to understand the specific symbolic-technological dimensions that have been instrumental to major shifts in the development of idealized, scientific conceptions of space. The epistemic characteristics of these shifts have been previously discussed in genetic phenomenology, but without devoting sufficient attention to the constructive role of symbolic technologies. At the same time, this paper identifies some of the irreducible phenomenological and epistemic dimensions that characterize the functioning of the historically situated, embodied and distributed theoretic mind. (shrink)
Within philosophy there is not yet an integrative account of unreflective skillful action. As a starting point, contributions would be required from philosophers from both the analytic and continental traditions. Starting from the McDowell-Dreyfus debate, shared Aristotelian-Wittgensteinian common ground is identified. McDowell and Dreyfus agree about the importance of embodied skills, situation-specific discernment and responsiveness to relevant affordances. This sheds light on the embodied and situated nature of adequate unreflective action and provides a starting point for the development (...) of an account that does justice to insights from both philosophical traditions. (shrink)
Many psychopathological disorders – clinical depression, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) – are commonly classified as disorders of the self. In an intuitive sense this sort of classification is unproblematic. There can be no doubt that such disorders make a difference to one’s ability to form and maintain a coherent sense of oneself in various ways. However, any theoretically rigourous attempt to show that they relate to underlying problems with say, such things as minimal selves or, (...) even, so-called narrative selves – where these latter constructs are invoked to do genuine explanatory work – would require, inter alia, philosophical clarification of what it is that one is precisely committed to in talking of such things (if things they be). It would also require justification for believing in selves of these various kinds. I have elsewhere put on record some of my worries about proposed justifications for believing in minimal selves (Hutto 2008b). But – lest I be accused of favouritism – it should be noted that I also have concerns about the very idea of narrative selves. Several authors have made strong claims about the role of narratives in self constitution (e.g. Dennett 1991, Flanagan 1996, Schechtman 1996). Under standard interpretations these proposals are ambiguous, underdeveloped in key respects, embed obvious tensions or generate puzzles. For these reasons I think we should be cautious of lax talk of selves that are woven from narrative cloth. This is not to say that I agree with Strawson (2004) that adopting a narrative perspective might not be essential for being a self (or at least being a self of a certain sort – even an ethically interesting sort).1 It is rather that I think that before we get around to assessing such claims we need a better understanding of just what we are committed to in talking of selves in general. This is a major philosophical programme, and not one with which I will attempt to engage in this paper – not even in passing.. (shrink)
Imitation, deliberation, and mindreading are characteristically human sociocognitive skills. Research on imitation and its role in social cognition is flourishing across various disciplines; it is here surveyed under headings of behavior, subpersonal mechanisms, and functions of imitation. A model is then advanced within which many of the developments surveyed can be located and explained. The shared circuits model explains how imitation, deliberation, and mindreading can be enabled by subpersonal mechanisms of control, mirroring and simulation. It is cast at a (...) middle, functional level of description, between the level of neural implementation and the level of conscious perceptions and intentional actions. The shared circuits model connects shared informational dynamics for perception and action with shared informational dynamics for self and other, while also showing how the action/perception, self/other and actual/possible distinctions can be overlaid on these shared informational dynamics. It avoids the common conception of perception and action as separate and peripheral to central cognition. Rather, it contributes to the situated cognition movement by showing how mechanisms for perceiving action can be built on those for active perception. (shrink)
Four distinct models of the functional contribution of mirror neurons to social cognition can be distinguished: direct matching, inverse modeling, response modeling, and predictive coding. Each entails a different way in which an agent's own capacities for action and affective experience contribute to understanding and/or predicting others' actions and affective experience. In this paper, the four models and their theoretical frameworks are elucidated, empirical data and theoretical arguments bearing upon each are reviewed, and falsifiable predictions that could help to (...) distinguish empirically among the models are proposed. (shrink)
Cognitive scientists have a variety of approaches to studying cognition: experimental psychology, computer science, robotics, neuroscience, educational psychology, philosophy of mind, and psycholinguistics, to name but a few. In addition, they also differ in their approaches to cognition - some of them consider that the mind works basically like a computer, involving programs composed of abstract, amodal, and arbitrary symbols. Others claim that cognition is embodied - that is, symbols must be grounded on perceptual, motoric, and (...) emotional experience. The existence of such different approaches has consequences when dealing with practical issues such as understanding brain disorders, designing artificial intelligence programs and robots, improving psychotherapy, or designing instructional programs. The symbolist and embodiment camps seldom engage in any kind of debate to clarify their differences. This book is the first attempt to do so. It brings together a team of outstanding scientists, adopting symbolist and embodied viewpoints, in an attempt to understand how the mind works and the nature of linguistic meaning. As well as being interdisciplinary, all authors have made an attempt to find solutions to substantial issues beyond specific vocabularies and techniques. (shrink)
The received view of dynamical explanation is that dynamical cognitive science seeks to provide covering law explanations of cognitive phenomena. By analyzing three prominent examples of dynamicist research, I show that the received view is misleading: some dynamical explanations are mechanistic explanations, and in this way resemble computational and connectionist explanations. Interestingly, these dynamical explanations invoke the mathematical framework of dynamical systems theory to describe mechanisms far more complex and distributed than the ones typically considered by philosophers. Therefore, contemporary dynamicist (...) research reveals the need for a more sophisticated account of mechanistic explanation. (shrink)
Understanding the role of ‘‘representations’’ in cognitive science is a fundamental problem facing the emerging framework of embodied, situated, dynamical cognition. To make progress, I follow the approach proposed by an influential representational skeptic, Randall Beer: building artificial agents capable of minimally cognitive behaviors and assessing whether their internal states can be considered to involve representations. Hence, I operationalize the concept of representing as ‘‘standing in,’’ and I look for representations in embodied agents involved in simple categorization (...) tasks. In a first experiment, no representation can be found, but the relevance of the task is undermined by the fact that agents with no internal states can reach high performance. A simple modification makes the task more “representationally hungry,” and in this case, agents’ internal states are found to qualify as representations. I conclude by discussing the benefits of reconciling the embodied-dynamical approach with the notion of representation. (shrink)
In the action-space account of color, an emphasis is laid on implicit knowledge when it comes to experience, and explanatory ambitions are expressed. If the knowledge claims are interpreted in a strong way, the action-space account becomes a form of conservative enactivism, which is a kind of cognitivism. Only if the knowledge claims are weakly interpreted, the action space-account can be seen as a distinctive form of enactivism, but then all reductive explanatory ambitions must be abandoned.
The `developmental systems'' perspective in biology is intended to replace the idea of a genetic program. This new perspective is strongly convergent with recent work in psychology on situated/embodiedcognition and on the role of external `scaffolding'' in cognitive development. Cognitive processes, including those which can be explained in evolutionary terms, are not `inherited'' or produced in accordance with an inherited program. Instead, they are constructed in each generation through the interaction of a range of developmental resources. The (...) attractors which emerge during development and explain robust and/or widespread outcomes are themselves constructed during the process. At no stage is there an explanatory stopping point where some resources control or program the rest of the developmental cascade. `Human nature'' is a description of how things generally turn out, not an explanation of why they turn out that way. Finally, we suggest that what is distinctive about human development is its degree of reliance on external scaffolding. (shrink)