A twofold tale of one mind: revisiting REC’s multi-storey story

Synthese 198 (12):12175-12193 (2020)
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The Radical Enactive/embodied view of Cognition, or REC, claims that all cognition is a matter of skilled performance. Yet REC also makes a distinction between basic and content-involving cognition, arguing that the development of basic to content-involving cognition involves a kink. It might seem that this distinction leads to problematic gaps in REC’s story. We address two such alleged gaps in this paper. First, we identify and reply to the concern that REC leads to an “interface problem”, according to which REC has to account for the interaction of two minds co-present in the same cognitive activity. We emphasise how REC’s view of content-involving cognition in terms of activities that require particular sociocultural practices can resolve these interface concerns. The second potential problematic gap is that REC creates an unjustified difference in kind between animal and human cognition. In response, we clarify and further explicate REC’s notion of content, and argue that this notion allows REC to justifiably mark the distinction between basic and content-involving cognition as a difference in kind. We conclude by pointing out in what sense basic and content-involving cognitive activities are the same, yet different. They are the same because they are all forms of skilled performance, yet different as some forms of skilled performance are genuinely different from other forms.



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Author Profiles

Jasper van den Herik
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erik Myin
University of Antwerp

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Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Action in Perception.Alva Noë - 2004 - MIT Press.
The Bounds of Cognition.Frederick Adams & Kenneth Aizawa - 2008 - Malden, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by Kenneth Aizawa.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.

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