Practices of remembering a movement in the dance studio: evidence for (a radicalized version of) the REC framework in the domain of memory

Synthese 199 (1-2):3611-3643 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper provides evidence for a radically enactive, embodied account of remembering. By looking closely at highly context-dependent instances of memorizing and recalling dance material, I aim at shedding light on the workings of memory. Challenging the view that cognition fundamentally entails contentful mental representation, the examples I discuss attest the existence of non-representational instances of memory, accommodating episodic memory. That being so, this paper also makes room for content-involving forms of remembering. As a result, it supports the duplex vision of mentality advanced by the REC framework. Building on research on the enactive imagination, I suggest that contentless forms of remembering act below content-involving forms. In addition, contentless and contentful forms of remembering a movement are revealed as the product of culturally scaffolded engagements with others and the environment, in which direct perception and mirroring play a fundamental role. It is argued that many of the practices of remembering a movement are best explained as enactments or re-enactments of such direct ecological perceptions. In the process, the dance studio proves to be a paradigm of the extensive mind. This paper is also intended as an invitation to the REC framework to extend the family and explicitly embrace research on sociocultural practices as an equal partner, including dance studies. Given the fundamental role that sociocultural practices play in REC’s understanding of cognition, it is only natural that further radicalization goes along those lines.

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