From deed to word: gapless and kink-free enactivism

Synthese:1-21 (forthcoming)
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In their most recent book, Evolving Enactivism: Basic Minds Meet Content, Dan Hutto and Eric Myin claim to give a complete and gapless naturalistic account of cognition, but it comes with a kink. The kink being that content-involving cognition has special properties found nowhere else in nature, making it the case that minds capable of contentful thought differ in kind, in this key respect, from more basic minds. Contra Hutto and Myin, I argue that content-involving practices are themselves simply a further extension of action and do not therefore warrant being called ‘different in kind’ or ‘kinky’. With the help of Ludwig Wittgenstein and John V. Canfield, I show that Enactivism meets the challenge of explaining higher-level cognition; and, contra continuity sceptics, offer ‘a philosophically cogent and empirically respectable account’ of how human minds can emerge from nonhuman minds.



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Danièle Moyal-Sharrock
University of Hertfordshire