Intentionality and Embodied Cognition

Philosophical Topics 39 (1):81-97 (2011)
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The theses of embodied and extended cognition are usually regarded as recherché doctrines, at odds with common sense. They are also, typically, regarded as theses that must be evaluated by way of their implications for the development of cognitive science. If they cohere with the likely trajectory of cognitive science they can be accepted. If they do not, they must be rejected. This paper argues against both these claims. At the conceptual heart of the theses of embodied and extended cognition is an analysis of intentionality as revealing activity, and the theses are mundane implications of this analysis. Moreover, since the analysis is not something that can be gleaned from cognitive science or philosophical reflections on cognitive science, the theses of embodied and extended cognition are not ones that can be adjudicated by appeals to what cognitive science does or is likely to do in the future. The theses of embodied and extended cognition are philosophical theses—not theses of cognitive science—and none the worse for that.



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Mark Rowlands
University of Miami

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