The paper discusses the concept of the cognitive niche and distinguishes the latter from the metabolic niche. By using these posits I unpack certain ideas that are crucial for the enactivist movement, especially for its original formulation proposed by Varela, Thompson and Rosh. Drawing on the ontology of location, boundaries, and parthood, I argue that enacting the world can be seen as the process of cognitive niche construction. Moreover, it turns out that enactivism—as seen through the lens of the conceptual (...) framework proposed in the paper—considers cognition as a kind of connection between the subject and the world. This post is pointed to as the key idea laid down in enactivism. (shrink)
Two major philosophical movements have sought to fundamentally rethink the relationship between humans and their environment: environmental ethics and enactivism. Surprisingly, they virtually never refer to or seek inspiration from each other. The goal of this analysis is to bridge the gap. Our main purpose, then, is to address, from the enactivist angle, the conceptual backbone of environmental ethics, namely the concept of intrinsic value. We argue that intrinsic value does indeed exist, yet its "intrinsicality" does not boil down to (...) being independent of the interests and needs of humans. Rather, it is brought forth by what we call shared enaction of an axiological domain. The latter is built upon such core posits of enactivism as autonomy, enaction, participatory sense-making as well as the most recent concept of loving as knowing proposed by Hanne De Jaegher. (shrink)
The book is the first formulation of a meta-philosophical scheme rooted in the embodied cognition paradigm. The latter views subjects capable of cognition and experience as living, embodied creatures coupled with their environments. On the other hand, the emergence of experimental philosophy has given rise to a new context in which philosophers have begun to search for a more thorough definition of philosophical competence. The time is ripe for these two trends to join their efforts. Therefore, the book discusses what (...) it means for a human being thought of as a living subject to pursue philosophy. In this context, in contrast to the existing literature, philosophical competence must not be conflated with competence in philosophy. The former is a skill or attitude. The book refers to this peculiar attitude as the recognition of one’s epistemic position. (shrink)
This paper aims to elucidate a kind of ignorance that is more fundamental than a momentary lack of information, but also not a kind of ignorance that is built into the subject’s cognitive apparatus such that the subject can’t do anything about it. The paper sets forth the notion of cognitive confinement, which is a contingent, yet relatively stable state of being structurally or systematically unable to gain information from an environment, determined by patterns of interaction between the subject and (...) the world. In order to unpack the idea of cognitive confinement the paper discusses niche construction theory, and then, in greater detail, the notion of cognitive niche once proposed by John Tooby and Irven DeVore. Cognitive confinement is here imagined as a pathologized form of cognitive niche. This posit is substantiated by referring to a case that has come to the fore in recent years and raised debate around the world: the rise of so-called filter bubbles. They turn out to be instantiations of a more general phenomenon of cognitive confinement. (shrink)
Context: Von Foerster’s concept of eigenbehavior can be recognized against the broader context of enactivism as it has been advocated by Varela, Thompson and Rosch, by Noë and recently by Hutto and Myin, among others. This flourishing constellation of ideas is on its way to becoming the new paradigm of cognitive science. However, in my reading, enactivism, putting stress on the constitutive role of action when it comes to mind and perception, faces a serious philosophical challenge when attempting to account (...) for the way we actually perceive our environments, most importantly for the fact that we perceive things or objects. Von Foester’s eigenbehavior is understood here as a concept supposed to take on this challenge. Problem: In this article I tackle the following issues: Enactivism must be able to account for the apparent stability of the perceived world: this is not a realm of a never-ending flux of stimuli; it is a realm of stable things. Enactivism is committed to the anti-Cartesian endeavor seeking to bridge the gap between the inner and the outer; between the subjective and the objective. Now, these two points constrain each other so that one cannot address simply by regarding the apparent stability of things as a projection that springs out of the internal machinery binding inputs with outputs. This is because the very idea of such an internal machinery opposes, i.e., it employs the Cartesian dichotomy. So, enactivism is in need of an account of that would not oppose its anti-Cartesian commitment. Method: I introduce the ontology of location and niche theory, as it has been brought forth by Varzi, Casati, and Smith, and develop it so that it can be used in the philosophy of mind. This is a conceptual, semi-formal philosophical analysis. Results: I shall come up with the idea of object conceived of a product of action, and - drawing on von Foerster’s central idea - as a product of coordination of perceptions. Yet, it is not coordination of stimuli but coordination of cognitive connections. The notion of connection is thus articulated in the article and cast as the central concept in my proposal. Implications: We are able to account for both and (2. The apparent stability of the perceived world is due to the setting up and maintaining of connections between the perceiver and the things perceived, resulting in the establishment of what I call a cognitive niche. Constructivist content: Constructivism, broadly construed, takes, in my reading, a negative stance in the first place. Namely, it opposes what I call the metaphysics of the ready-made world. So, it holds that there is no ready-made reality; however it remains open when it comes to positive claims: a mind-independent reality does not exist at all or it does exist but it is not ready-made and as such it must be brought to completion, so to speak, or enacted, as Varela et al. would say, by a cognitive subject. In this article, I follow the latter and address one specific issue: how the enacted world gains its relatively stable architecture. (shrink)
Context: Metaphysics of perception explores fundamental questions regarding the structure and status of the perceived world or appearance(s. By virtue of perception, the apparent world comes to existence. This, however, does not mean that the apparent world is a projection of mind, that it exists “in the head.” Implications: PL-metaphysics reconciles realism with constructivism. As such, it might be considered either an alternative to constructivism or an improvement and completion of this position. Constructivist content: The article refers to non-Cartesian movements (...) in contemporary philosophy, including radical constructivism, enactive and embodied cognition. Keywords: Perception, metaphysics, radical constructivism, realism, appearance, Jerzy Perzanowski, Plato, Gottfried Willhelm Leibniz, Ernst von Glasersfeld. (shrink)
Aspectual shape is widely recognized property of intentionality. This means that subject’s access to reality is necessarily conditioned by applied concepts, perspective, modes of sensation, etc. I argue against representational and indirect-realist account of this phenomenon. My own proposition—presentational and direct realist—is based on the recognition of historical contexts, in which the phenomenon of aspectuality should be reconsidered; on the other hand—it is based on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s conception of aspectual perception. Moreover I apply some results from the area of logicophilosophical (...) investigations called qua theory. (shrink)
Embodied cognition postulates a bi-directional link between the human body and its cognitive functions. Whether this holds for higher cognitive functions such as problem solving is unknown. We predicted that arm movement manipulations performed by the participants could affect the problem-solving solutions. We tested this prediction in quantitative reasoning tasks that allowed two solutions to each problem. In two studies with healthy adults, we found an effect of problem-congruent movements on problem solutions. Consistent with embodied cognition, sensorimotor information gained via (...) right or left arm movements affects the solution in different types of problem-solving tasks. (shrink)
I argue that Ludwig Wittgenstein’s idea of the metaphysical subject sheds new light on subjective qualities of experience. In this article I draw first of all on the interpretations provided by Michael Kremer and James Conant. Subsequently, I conclude that “what is it like” means primarily “what is it like to see myself as the metaphysical subject”.
Abstract Western philosophical and psychological thinking lacks an accepted theory of human personality; it has produced conflicting and inadequate notions, such as the religious one of a soul, the vague concept of the ?mind? and biological theories basing their understanding of man on the functions of the nervous system, particularly the brain, or dealing with his mental dimension only in terms of behavioural patterns. This paper explores the notions of personality in Indian systems and finds that virtually all of them (...) understand it, despite differing terminology, as a fluid complex of functions or living forces characterised by intrinsic intelligence and coordinated by a dynamic structural principle, operating on three levels of reality: phenomenal material, phenomenal immaterial and noumenal or absolute. One can say that the Indian tradition fully appreciated the complexity of the problem and produced theories of personality which are more comprehensive than western ones and merit study as well as attention from the point of view of contemporary creative philosophical thinking. . (shrink)
This paper answers a philosophical challenge that emerges when we problematize the seemingly trivial "fact" that, on the one hand, through our senses we are presented with a realm that is not of our own making; while, on the other hand, various perceivers are acquainted with diverse presentations of this realm, depending on their perspective and cognitive machinery. The challenge is dubbed here the problem of presentations. The paper draws on the idea of situation-dependent properties proposed by Susanna Schellenberg. However, (...) the paper takes the notion of situation more seriously and introduces a number of basic notions borrowed from situated cognition—a cluster of ideas that have recently emerged in the philosophy of mind. These make it possible to introduce the perceiver in such a way as not to endanger the objective character of situation-dependent properties. Thought of this way, situation-dependent properties are in turn described as the building blocks of presentations. (shrink)
Psychoontology is a philosophical theory of the cognizing subject and various related matters. In this article. I present two approaches to the discipline—the first proposed by Jerzy Perzanowski, the second by Jesse Prinz and Yoram Hazony. I then undertake to bring these into unity using certain ideas from Husserl and Frege. Applying the functor qua, psychoontology can be described as a discipline concerned with: (a) the cognizing subject qua being—this leads to the question: what kind of being is the subject (...) (is it an object?, simple or complex?, a process?) and what makes him/her/it possible; (b) being qua cognized, this leads to the question: under what conditions can we access the world? Since the notion of being qua cognized might seem peculiar, I present its context and discuss it in detail in the last section. (shrink)
Philosophical intuition has become one of the most debated problems in recent years, largely due to the rise of the movement called experimental philosophy which challenged the conviction that philosophers have some special insight into abstract ideas such as being, knowledge, good and evil, intentional action, etc. In response to the challenge, some authors claim that there is a special cognitive faculty called philosophical intuition which delivers justification to philosophical theses, while some others deny it based on experimental results. A (...) relatively smaller group of researchers aim at clarifying what the alleged intuition is. I follow the latter path. In this paper I argue that philosophical intuition is in the first place the capacity enabling one to what I refer to as the recognition of one’s epistemic position. The latter means becoming aware of the seemingly trivial “fact” that the way in which the world manifests itself depends on the cognitive apparatus one has, thereby propelling one to draw a distinction between appearances and reality. The recognition at stake is a very specific capacity to approach the world solely as it is experienced. This capacity, I argue, is the core and the defining feature of philosophical intuition. As part of my argumentation I also distinguish between the intuition in question and its different manifestations; and then introduce a novel notion of erotetic intuition. My argument is called “old-fashion” to emphasize the fact that I draw mostly on four figures who were pivotal in the twentieth- century philosophy and whose influence on the current debate concerning philosophical intuition should be, I believe, stronger than it is; I mean Russell, Carnap, Wittgenstein, and Husserl. (shrink)
Karma and Teleology. A problem and its solution in Indian philosophy. Johannes Bronkhorst. The International Institute for Buddhist Studies of the International College for Advanced Studies, Tokyo 2000. iii, 142 pp. ISBN 4-906267-44-0.
An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy. An annotated translation of the Tarkabhasa of Moksakaragupta, reprint with corrections in the author's hand. Yuichi Kajiyama, Arbeitskreis für tibetische und buddhistische Studien Universitat Wien. Vienna 1998. 173 pp.
Der Buddha sprach nicht nur für Mönche und Nonnen. Die ganze Lehre erstmals nur nach seinen Reden für Nichtasketen, 2, vollständig überarbeite Auflage. Fritz Schäfer. Werner Kristkeitz Verlag, Heidelberg-Leimen 2002. 880 pp. ISBN 3 921508 80 0.
Der erste deutsche Bhikkhu. Das bewegte Leben der Ehrwürdigen Nyanatiloka und seine Schüler. Ed. Hellmuth Hecker. Universität Konstanz, Forschungsprojekt 'Buddhistischer Modernismus', Forschungsberichte 10, Konstanz 1995, 363 pp. No price or ISBN given. Helmut Klar. Zeitzeuge zur Geschichte des Buddhismus in Deutschland. Ed. Martin Baumann., Konstanz 1995. 150 pp. No price given. ISBN 3-930959-06-2.
Dharmottaras kurze Untersuchung der Gültigkeit einer Erkenntnis - Laghupramanyapariksa, Teil I: Tibetischer Text und Sanskritmaterialen, Teil II: Übersetzung. Helmut Krasser. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 1991. 162 and 148 pp. ÖS 350.00, DM 50.00.
Folklore in Buddhist and Jaina Literatures. An account of the life of the common people as reflected in Pali, Prakrit and Apabhramsa works. Sures Chandra Banerji. Bibliotheca, Indo-Buddhica 37, Delhi 1987. xv, 120 pp. Rs 130.
Historical Dictionary of Buddhism. Charles S. Prebish. The Scarecrow Press Inc., Metuchen, N.J., 1993. xxxv, 387 pp. $42.50. Distributed by Shelwing Ltd, Folkestone, at £42.50; Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi 1995. Rs 300.
Indian Studies. Gustav Roth. Seventieth Birthday felicitation volume ed. Heinz Bechert and Petra Kieffer-Pülz. Bibliotheca Indo-Buddhica No. 32, Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi 1986. xxxv, 468 pp; xxix plates. Rs. 450.
Lebensbilder deutscher Buddhisten. Ein bio-bibliographisches Handbuch. Band I: Die Gründer. Band II: Die Nachfolger. Edited by Hellmuth Hecker. Universität Konstanz, Forschungsprojekt 'Buddhistischer Modernismus', Forschungsberichte 13-14, Konstanz 1996-7. 214 and 405 pp. No price given. ISBN 3-930959-09-7 and -10-0.