Be there, or be square! On the importance of being there

By using the name of one of his first papers (See Clark 1987) for his latest book, Andy Clark proves how consistent his view of the mind has been over his career. Indeed Being There becomes the latest in a ten year effort, laid out over a series of books, to flesh out one of the few comprehensive proposals in philosophy of mind since Fodor’s Representational Theory of Mind (RTM). Each book in the series accentuates one aspect of Clark’s view. The first, Microcognition (Clark 1989), explores the importance of implementation. Except for a few pockets of resistance, the issue of implementation is by now wholly resolved in Clark’s favor but was, at the time, generally hostile to the idea of implementation (or "mere implementation" as it was commonly referred to back then) in studies of the mind. The second, Associative Engines (Clark 1993), stresses the importance of developmental issues, an idea that is still making waves in the cognitive science and neuroscience community (think of the flurry of models and experiments on developing theories of the mind (Carey 1985, Gopnik 1988, Gopnik and Meltzoff 1996). This latest effort argues for the importance of ecological issues, both for our general view of the mind and our explanation models in cognitive science. It explores the importance of being situated in a body and an environment, the importance of being there. Although each theme accentuated by Clark's books (implementation, development, and ecology) is generally biological in nature, Clark, unlike other biological views of the mind who tend to stress one biological aspect over the others, constantly manages to balance the different aspects in what amounts to perhaps the only integrated, or at least the most complete to date, biological view of the mind.
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