Ecological-enactive scientific cognition: modeling and material engagement

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 21 (3):625-643 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Ecological-enactive approaches to cognition aim to explain cognition in terms of the dynamic coupling between agent and environment. Accordingly, cognition of one’s immediate environment depends on enaction and the picking up of affordances. However, ecological-enactive views supposedly fail to account for what is sometimes called “higher” cognition, i.e., cognition about potentially absent targets, which therefore can only be explained by postulating representational content. This challenge levelled against ecological-enactive approaches highlights a putative explanatory gap between basic and higher cognition. In this paper, we examine scientific cognition—a paradigmatic case of higher cognition—and argue that it shares fundamental features with basic cognition, for enaction and affordance selection are central to the scientific enterprise. Our argument focuses on modeling, and on how models promote scientific understanding. We base our argument on a non-representational account of scientific understanding and on the material engagement theory, for models are hereby conceived as material objects designed for scientific engagements. Having done so, we conclude that the explanatory gap is significantly less threatening to the ecological-enactive approach than it might appear.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,261

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Material Engagement and Mediation: Two Necessary Concepts.Francesco Parisi - 2020 - Ágalma: Rivista di studi culturali e di estetica 40.
Cognition and behavior.Ken Aizawa - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11):4269-4288.
Embodiment and Enactivism.Amanda Corris & Anthony Chemero - 2021 - In Benjamin D. Young & Carolyn Dicey Jennings (eds.), Mind, Cognition, and Neuroscience: A Philosophical Introduction. Routledge.
Enactive Music Cognition: Background and Research Themes.J. R. Matyja & A. Schiavio - 2013 - Constructivist Foundations 8 (3):351-357.
Thinking Materially: Cognition as Extended and Enacted.Karenleigh A. Overmann - 2017 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 17 (3-4):354-373.


Added to PP

16 (#911,065)

6 months
7 (#439,760)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Giovanni Rolla
Universidade Federal da Bahia

Citations of this work

Bringing forth a world, literally.Giovanni Rolla & Nara Figueiredo - 2023 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 22 (4):931-953.
Radical artifactualism.Guilherme Sanches de Oliveira - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-33.
The strong program in embodied cognitive science.Guilherme Sanches de Oliveira - 2023 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 22 (4):841-865.

Add more citations