Is it possible to develop a discourse that describes human experience but avoids theoretical concepts such as consciousness and qualia, and do so in such a way that the difficult problems are resolved? It strikes me that Gordon Globus is attempting to do something like this. It seems an honorable project from the perspectives of both the analytic philosophy of mind and the postmodern celebration of multiple discourses. I want to suggest, however, that in his account the problems of qualia (...) and consciousness are not really dissipated, but simply dressed up in different garb. (shrink)
Theory of mind explanations of how we know other minds are limited in several ways. First, they construe intersubjective relations too narrowly in terms of the specialized cognitive abilities of explaining and predicting another person’s mental states and behaviours. Second, they sometimes draw conclusions about second-person interac- tion from experiments designed to test third-person observation of another’s behav- iour. As a result, the larger claims that are sometimes made for theory of mind, namely that theory of mind is our primary (...) and pervasive means for understanding other persons, go beyond both the phenomenological and the scientific evidence. I argue that the interpretation of ‘primary intersubjectivity’ as merely precursory to the- ory of mind is inadequate. Rather, primary intersubjectivity, understood as a set of embodied practices and capabilities, is not only primary in a developmental sense, but is the primary way we continue to understand others in second-person interactions. (shrink)
What kind of movement or behavior is involved in neonate imitation? What exactly is the newborn infant doing when it responds to seeing gestures on another person's face? This question is closely related to some other questions, such as whether neonate imitation is possible, and whether it is truly imitation. Piaget, of course, thought that this sort of "invisible imitation" was not possible for infants less than 8-12 months of age.
In this chapter I plan to situate the concept of situated cognition within the framework of antecedent philosophical work. My intention, however, is not to provide a simple historical guide but to suggest that there are still some untapped resources in these past philosophers that may serve to enrich current accounts of situated cognition.
Paper presented at Panel on Body, Affect, and Time in Language: A neuro-phenomenological approach to psychotic and other non-aphasic language disorders. Conference on Interacting Bodies – Corps en interaction. International Society of Gesture Studies (ISGS). Lyon, France (June 15-18 2005).
Preprint of Shaun Gallagher, 2000. Reply to Cole, Sacks, and Waterman Trends in Cognitive Science 4, No. 5 (2000): 167-68. Please cite and quote from the original publication. This is a reply to Cole, Sacks, and Waterman. 2000. "On the immunity principle: A view from a robot." Trends in Cognitive Science 4 (5): 167, which was a reply to Shaun Gallagher, S. 2000. Philosophical conceptions of the self: implications for cognitive science , Trends in Cognitive Science 4 (1):14-21..
Psychology is dead. The self is a fiction invented by the brain. Brain plasticity isnÂ’t all itÂ’s cracked up to be. Our conscious learning is an observation post factum , a recollection of something already accomplished by the brain. We donÂ’t learn to speak; speech is generated when the brain is ready to say something. False memories are more prevalent than one might think, and they arenÂ’t all that bad. We think weÂ’re in charge of our lives, but actually we (...) are not. On top of all this, the common belief that reading to a young child will make her brain more attuned to reading is simply untrue. (shrink)
I argue for a broad education in narratives as a way to address several problems found in moral psychology and social cognition. First, an education in narratives will address a common problem of narrowness or lack of diversity, shared by virtue ethics and the simulation theory of social cognition. Secondly, it also solves the ?starting problem? involved in the simulation approach. These discussions also relate directly to theories of empathy with special significance given to situational empathy.
In this paper we attempt to advance the enactive discourse on perception by highlighting the role of bodily affects as prenoetic constraints on perceptual experience. Enactivists argue for an essential connection between perception and action, where action primarily means skillful bodily intervention in one’s surroundings. Analyses of sensory-motor contingencies (as in Noë 2004) are important contributions to the enactive account. Yet this is an incomplete story since sensory-motor contingencies are of no avail to the perceiving agent without motivational pull in (...) one direction or another or a sense of the pertinent affective contingencies. Before directly addressing the issue of affect in perception, we explain our peculiar, low-level conception of affect as a form of world-involving intentionality that modulates (minimally) bodily behavior without necessarily possessing informational value of any kind. We then address the deficiency concerning affect in enactive accounts of perception by examining some exemplary forms of bodily affect that constrain perception. We show that bodily affect significantly contributes to (either limiting or enabling) our contact with the world in our perceptually operative attentive outlook, in a kind of perceptual interest or investment, and in social perception. (shrink)
I argue for a pattern theory of self as a usefulway to organize an interdisciplinary approach to discussions of what constitutes a self. According to the pattern theory, a self is constituted by a number of characteristic features or aspects that may include minimal embodied, minimal experiential, affective, intersubjective, psychological/cognitive, narrative, extended, and situated aspects. A pattern theory of self helps to clarify various interpretations of self as compatible or commensurable instead of thinking them in opposition, and it helps to (...) show how various aspects of self may be related across certain dimensions. I also suggest that a pattern theory of self can help to adjudicate (or at least map the differences) between the idea that the self correlates to self-referential processing in the cortical midline structures of the brain and other narrower or wider conceptions of self. (shrink)
I address a number of issues related to building an autonomous social robot. I review different approaches to social cognition and ask how these different approaches may inform the design of social robots. I argue that regardless of which theoretical approach to social cognition one favors, instantiating that approach in a workable robot will involve designing that robot on enactive principles.
In this paper, we first review recent arguments about the direct perception of the intentions and emotions of others, emphasizing the role of embodied interaction. We then consider a possible objection to the direct perception hypothesis from social psychology, related to phenomena like ‘dehumanization’ and ‘implicit racial bias’, which manifest themselves on a basic bodily level. On the background of such data, one might object that social perception cannot be direct since it depends on and can in fact be interrupted (...) by a set of cultural beliefs. We argue, however, that far from threatening the idea of direct perception, these findings clearly contradict the idea of hardwired theory of mind modules. More generally, we suggest that in order to further the understanding of social cognition we must take seriously insights about in-group and out-group distinctions and related phenomena, all of which are currently neglected in the mainstream social cognition literature. (shrink)
In this paper, we investigate the role of intention and joint attention in joint actions. Depending on the shared intentions the agents have, we distinguish between joint path-goal actions and joint final-goal actions. We propose an instrumental account of basic joint action analogous to a concept of basic action and argue that intentional joint attention is a basic joint action. Furthermore, we discuss the functional role of intentional joint attention for successful cooperation in complex joint actions. Anika Fiebich is PhD (...) student in Philosophy at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. Shaun Gallagher is Lilian and Morrie Moss Professor of Philosophy at the University of Memphis, USA. (shrink)
We argue that progress in our scientific understanding of the `social mind' is hampered by a number of unfounded assumptions. We single out the widely shared assumption that social behavior depends solely on the capacities of an individual agent. In contrast, both developmental and phenomenological studies suggest that the personal-level capacity for detached `social cognition' (conceived as a process of theorizing about and/or simulating another mind) is a secondary achievement that is dependent on more immediate processes of embodied social interaction. (...) We draw on the enactive approach to cognitive science to further clarify this strong notion of `social interaction' in theoretical terms. In addition, we indicate how this interaction theory (IT) could eventually be formalized with the help of a dynamical systems perspective on the interaction process, especially by making use of evolutionary robotics modeling. We conclude that bringing together the methods and insights of developmental, phenomenological, enactive and dynamical approaches to social interaction can provide a promising framework for future research. Keywords: theory of mind; cognitive science; phenomenology; embodied cognition; dynamical systems theory; enactive approach; social cognition; interaction theory; evolutionary robotics. (shrink)
In response to Stueber’s “Varieties of Empathy, Neuroscience, and the Narrativist Challenge to the Contemporary Theory of Mind Debate,” I identify three areas for further discussion: the frame problem, diversity, and an altogether different variety of empathy.
I clarify recently developed phenomenological approaches to social cognition. These are approaches that, drawing on developmental science, social neuroscience, and dynamic systems theory, emphasize the involvement of embodied and enactive processes together with communicative and narrative practices in contexts of intersubjective understanding. I review some of the evidence that supports these approaches. I consider a variety of criticisms leveled against them, and defend the role of phenomenology in the explanation of social cognition. Finally, I show how these phenomenological approaches can (...) solve the “starting problem” of social cognition. (shrink)
This new introduction by Shaun Gallagher gives students and philosophers not only an excellent concise overview of the state of the field and contemporary debates, but a novel way of addressing the subject by looking at the ways in which phenomenology is useful to the disciplines it applies to. Gallagher retrieves the central insights made by the classic phenomenological philosophers (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and others), updates some of these insights in innovative ways, and shows how they directly relate to (...) ongoing debates in philosophy and psychology. Accounts of phenomenological methods, and the concepts of intentionality, temporality, embodiment, action, self, and our ability to understand other people are integrated into a coherent contemporary statement that shows why phenomenology is still an active and vital philosophical approach. Each chapter begins with a discussion of the classic analyses and then goes on to show their relevance to contemporary debates in philosophy about embodied, enactive and extended approaches to our understanding of human experience. Along the way Gallagher introduces some novel interpretations that suggest how phenomenology can both inform and be informed by the terms of these debates. (shrink)
I examine several aspects of the experience of time in depression and in the experience of different emotions. Both phenomenological and experimental studies show that depressed subjects have a slowed experience of time flow and tend to overestimate time spans. In comparison to patients in control conditions, depressed patients tend to be preoccupied with past events, and less focused on present and future events. Recent empirical findings in studies of emotion perception show different degrees of over- or underestimation of time (...) in perception of faces showing different emotions compared with neutral faces. Clinical phenomenology predicts that the effects on time estimation would not be additive if these tests were conducted with depressed subjects. (shrink)
Clark and Chalmers  introduced the concept of the extended mind, in part to move beyond the standard Cartesian idea that cognition is something that happens in a private mental space, "in the head." In this paper I want to pursue a liberal interpretation of this idea, extending the mind to include processes that occur within social and cultural institutions. At the same time I want to address some concerns that have been raised about whether such..
In response to Stueber’s “Varieties of Empathy, Neuroscience, and the Narrativist Challenge to the Contemporary Theory of Mind Debate,” I identify three areas for further discussion: the frame problem, diversity, and an altogether different variety of empathy.
In this paper, I review recent contributions of phenomenology to a variety of disciplines, including the cognitive sciences and psychiatry, and explore (1) controversies about phenomenological methods and naturalization; (2) relations between phenomenology and the enactive and extended mind approaches; and (3) the promise of phenomenology for addressing a number of controversial philosophical issues.
We argue against theory-of-mind interpretation of recent false-belief experiments with young infants and explore two other interpretations: enactive and behavioral abstraction approaches. We then discuss the differences between these alternatives.
I argue that an older debate in phenomenology concerning Husserl’s notion of hyletic data can throw some light on contemporary debates about qualia and phenomenal consciousness. Both debates tend to ignore important considerations about bodily experience and how specific kinds of bodily experience can shape one’s consciousness of the world. A revised and fully embodied conception of hyletic experience enriches the concept of enactive perception.
Philosophical hermeneutics, understood as the theory of nterpretation, investigates some questions that are also asked in the cognitive sciences. The nature of human understanding, the way that we gain and organize knowledge, the role played by language and memory in these considerations, the relations between conscious and unconscious knowledge, and how we understand other persons, are all good examples of issues that form the intersection of hermeneutics and the cognitive sciences. Although hermeneutics is most often contrasted with the natural sciences, (...) there are some clear ways in which hermeneutics can contribute to the cognitive sciences and vice versa. (shrink)
Abstract: This article poses a number of questions to Richard Shusterman concerning his concepts of somaesthetics and body consciousness in his book Body Consciousness: A Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics. How do the concepts relate to the kind of forgetfulness of the body that can happen in expert performance? What is the nature of somatic reflection, and how is it different from pre-reflective awareness of the body? The article suggests that our immersed involvement and overt orientation toward things, and toward (...) other people that concern us, involve bodily practices characterized by a performative forgetting of the body. Depending on the nature of the way we become aware of (or practice awareness of) the body, performance may be improved or disrupted. (shrink)
The interaction theory of social cognition contends that intersubjective interaction is characterized by both immersion and irreducibility. This motivates a question about autonomy and self-agency: If I am always caught up in processes of interaction, and interaction always goes beyond me and my ultimate control, is there any room for self-agency? I outline an answer to this question that points to the importance of communicative and narrative practices.
We examine the theory of the extended mind, and especially the concept of the “parity principle” (Clark and Chalmers in Analysis 58.1:7–19, 1998), in light of Hegel’s notion of objective spirit. This unusual combination of theories raises the question of how far one can extend the notion of extended mind and whether cognitive processing can supervene on the operations of social practices and institutions. We raise some questions about putting this research to critical use.
An important shift is taking place in social cognition research, away from a focus on the individual mind and toward embodied and participatory aspects of social understanding. Empirical results already imply that social cognition is not reducible to the workings of individual cognitive mechanisms. To galvanize this interactive turn, we provide an operational definition of social interaction and distinguish the different explanatory roles – contextual, enabling and constitutive – it can play in social cognition. We show that interactive processes are (...) more than a context for social cognition: they can complement and even replace individual mechanisms. This new explanatory power of social interaction can push the field forward by expanding the possibilities of scientific explanation beyond the individual. (shrink)
The invention of the computer has revolutionized science. With respect to finding the essential structures of life, for example, it has enabled scientists not only to investigate empirical examples, but also to create and study novel hypothetical variations by means of simulation: ‘life as it could be’. We argue that this kind of research in the field of artificial life, namely the specification, implementation and evaluation of artificial systems, is akin to Husserl’s method of free imaginative variation as applied to (...) the specific regional ontology of biology. Thus, at a time when the clarification of the essence of our biological embodiment is of growing interest for phenomenology, we suggest that artificial life should be seen as a method of externalizing some of the insurmountable complexity of imaginatively varying the phenomenon of life. (shrink)
Recent significant research in a number of disciplines centers around the concept of the sense of agency. Because many of these studies cut across disciplinary lines there is good reason to seek a clear consensus on what ‘sense of agency’ means. In this paper I indicate some complexities that this consensus might have to deal with. I also highlight an important phenomenological distinction that needs to be considered in any discussion of the sense of agency, regardless of how it gets (...) defined, and I offer some critical comments on some current models tied to the notion that the sense of agency has an ambiguous phenomenology. (shrink)
We argue that phenomenology can be of central and positive importance to the cognitive sciences, and that it can also learn from the empirical research conducted in those sciences. We discuss the project of naturalizing phenomenology and how this can be best accomplished. We provide several examples of how phenomenology and the cognitive sciences can integrate their research. Specifically, we consider issues related to embodied cognition and intersubjectivity. We provide a detailed analysis of issues related to time-consciousness, with reference to (...) understanding schizophrenia and the loss of the sense of agency. We offer a positive proposal to address these issues based on a neurobiological dynamic-systems model. (shrink)
Did protolanguage users use discrete words that referred to objects, actions, locations, etc., and then, at some point, combine them; or on the contrary did they have words that globally indexed whole semantic complexes, and then come to divide them? Our answer is: early humans were forming language units consisting of global and discrete dimensions of semiosis in dynamic opposition. These units of thinking-for-speaking, or ‘growth points’ (GPs) were, jointly, analog imagery (visuo-spatio-motoric) and categorically-contrastive (-emic) linguistic encodings. This discrete-global duality (...) was a new mode of embodied cognition that enabled thinking and acting in new ways: the dawn of protolanguage. Where did this mode of cognition come from? We have some suggestions based on the hypothesis that gestures gained the power to orchestrate actions, manual and vocal, with significances other than those of the actions themselves, giving rise to cognition framed in the proposed dual terms. Note, however, our proposal is not one of the ‘gesture-first’ theories of language origins. Such theories predict what did not evolve: a language of pantomime; rather than what did evolve: an integrated system of synchronized gestures and spoken forms. GP theory is an account of the cognition underlying such an integrated system. A scenario for the evolutionary selection of this cognitive mode is ‘Mead’s Loop’, a model in which one’s cognition is enriched by one’s own gestures, insofar as they are objects in social interactions. (shrink)
We propose to extend Clark and Chalmer’s concept of the extended mind to consider the possibility that social institutions (e.g., legal systems, museums) may operate in ways similar to the hand-held conveniences (notebooks, calculators) that are often used as examples of extended mind. The inspiration for this suggestion can be found in the writings of Hegel on “objective spirit” which involves the mind in a constant process of externalizing and internalizing. For Hegel, social institutions are pieces of the mind, externalized (...) in their specific time and place. These institutions are the products of shared mental processes. We then use these institutions instrumentally to do further cognitive work, for example, to solve problems or to control behavior. (shrink)
I examine the following question: Do actions require representations that are intrinsic to the action itself? Recent work by Mark Rowlands, Michael Wheeler, and Andy Clark suggests that actions may require a minimal form of representation. I argue that the various concepts of minimal representation on offer do not apply to action per se and that a non-representationalist account that focuses on dynamic systems of self-organizing continuous reciprocal causation at the sub-personal level is superior. I further recommend a scientific pragmatism (...) regarding the concept of representation. (shrink)
The embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended approaches to cognition explicate many important details for a phenomenology of perception, and are consistent with some of the traditional phenomenological analyses. Theorists working in these areas, however, often fail to provide an account of how intersubjectivity might relate to perception. This paper suggests some ways in which intersubjectivity is important for an adequate account of perception.
In this paper I defend interaction theory (IT) as an alternative to both theory theory (TT) and simulation theory (ST). IT opposes the basic suppositions that both TT and ST depend upon. I argue that the various capacities for primary and secondary intersubjectivity found in infancy and early childhood should not be thought of as precursors to later developing capacities for using folk psychology or simulation routines. They are not replaced or displaced by such capacities in adulthood, but rather continue (...) to operate as our ordinary and everyday basis for social cognition. I also argue that enactive perception rather than implicit simulation is the best model for explaining these capacities. (shrink)
I want to explore one small corner of the concept of mental causality. It’s the corner where discussions about mind-body interactions and epiphenomenalism take place. My basic contention is that these discussions are framed in the wrong terms because they are infected by a mind-body dualism which defines the question of mental causality in a classic or standard way: How does a mental event cause my body to do what it does? Setting the question in this way has consequences for (...) ongoing interdisciplinary (psychological, neuroscientific, and philosophical) discussions of mental causation, as well as free will, and for our understanding of what we mean by a sense of agency for action. These concepts, in turn, have much to do with our understanding of what goes wrong in certain instances of psychopathology. I’ll try to get to this issue in the final part of my paper. Let me first set the historical scene of what I am calling this standard way of understanding the problem of mental causality. (shrink)
We argue that theory-of-mind (ToM) approaches, such as “theory theory” and “simulation theory”, are both problematic and not needed. They account for neither our primary and pervasive way of engaging with others nor the true basis of our folk psychological understanding, even when narrowly construed. Developmental evidence shows that young infants are capable of grasping the purposeful intentions of others through the perception of bodily movements, gestures, facial expressions etc. Trevarthen’s notion of primary intersubjectivity can provide a theoretical framework for (...) understanding these capabilities and his notion of secondary intersubjectivity shows the importance of pragmatic contexts for infants starting around one year of age. The recent neuroscience of resonance systems (i.e., mirror neurons, shared representations) also supports this view. These ideas are worked out in the context of an embodied “Interaction Theory” of social cognition. Still, for more sophisticated intersubjective interactions in older children and adults, one might argue that some form of ToM is required. This thought is defused by appeal to narrative competency and the Narrative Practice Hypothesis (or NPH). We propose that repeated encounters with narratives of a distinctive kind is the normal route through which children acquire an understanding of the forms and norms that enable them to make sense of actions in terms of reasons. A potential objection to this hypothesis is that it presupposes ToM abilities. Interaction Theory is deployed once again to answer this by providing an alternative approach to understanding basic narrative competency and its development. (shrink)