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)
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)
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)
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)
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”.
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)
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)
The aim of this paper is to compare the contents of the Lotus S?tra and the style of presentation of its message with the thrust of the Buddha's teachings as they are preserved in the early Buddhist sources, particularly the Sutta Pi aka of the P?li Canon, and also in the P?li commentarial literature. In the process it attempts to identify in the early sources the precedents of some of the bold statements in the Lotus S?tra which appear as complete (...) innovations, but may be elaborations of elements contained in P?li sources in germinal form. Despite the difference in style, language and mythological imagery, the conclusion is that both the Sutta Pi aka and the Lotus S?tra express in their respective manners the true spirit of the Buddhist message. Attention is drawn also to the striking parallels between the Buddhist picture of the multiple universe and modern cosmological theories. (shrink)
Background: In biomedical research, there have been numerous scandals highlighting conflicts of interest (COIs) leading to significant bias in judgment and questionable practices. Academic institutions, journals, and funding agencies have developed and enforced policies to mitigate issues related to COI, especially surrounding financial interests. After a case of editorial COI in a prominent bioethics journal, there is concern that the same level of oversight regarding COIs in the biomedical sciences may not apply to the field of bioethics. In this study, (...) we examined the availability and comprehensiveness of COI policies for authors, peer reviewers, and editors of bioethics journals. Methods: After developing a codebook, we analyzed the content of online COI policies of 63 bioethics journals, along with policy information provided by journal editors that was not publicly available. Results: Just over half of the bioethics journals had COI policies for authors (57%), and only 25% for peer reviewers and 19% for editors. There was significant variation among policies regarding definitions, the types of COIs described, the management mechanisms, and the consequences for noncompliance. Definitions and descriptions centered on financial COIs, followed by personal and professional relationships. Almost all COI policies required disclosure of interests for authors as the primary management mechanism. Very few journals outlined consequences for noncompliance with COI policies or provided additional resources. Conclusion: Compared to other studies of biomedical journals, a much lower percentage of bioethics journals have COI policies and these vary substantially in content. The bioethics publishing community needs to develop robust policies for authors, peer reviewers, and editors and these should be made publicly available to enhance academic and public trust in bioethics scholarship. (shrink)
I focus on the relationship between the coalition of ideas including constructivism and enactivism on the one side, and ontology in general on the other. Based on a certain logico-phenomenological attitude that dominated Polish philosophy in the 20th century I argue that ontology as such is not burdened with realistic or representationalist presumptions. Finally, certain more specific issues raised by the commentators are also addressed, including the very usability of the notion of cognitive niche and its role when it comes (...) to the problem of presentation. (shrink)
Upshot: My principal goal in this response is to reintroduce my understanding of metaphysics, which turned out - as I have learned from almost all of the commentaries - to be problematic, to say the least. Having done this, I will be able to address some of the most topical remarks provided by commentators, thereby further clarifying and also modifying my position.
Open peer commentary on the article “What Can the Global Observer Know?” by Diana Gasparyan. Upshot: I propose a simple way of representing the idea of global observation, broadly understood: a pair composed of an observer and the observer’s location ; the idea of occupying all possible viewpoints at once; the idea of a view from nowhere (no viewpoint. According to the hypothesis proposed in the article, these are all consecutive stages in the evolution of cognition. I elaborate in detail (...) on the final stage, which I call “theory of being.”. (shrink)
I elaborate on how boundaries are accounted for in the target article. This is a substantial issue if we are to understand the proposal laid out by Fields et al. I argue that certain boundary-related notions and theses need clarification.
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)
Open peer commentary on the article “Conflatingion with Empirical Observation: The False Mind-Matter Dichotomy” by Bernardo Kastrup. Upshot: This commentary is centered around one issue: it describes a possibility that, contrary to what the target article brings, not only the notion of matter, but also the notion of mind is a theoretical postulate devoted to unpacking our complex, concrete and pre-conceptual embodiment in the world. Therefore, the commentary suggests that there may be no difference in abstraction between the two notions (...) at stake. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to compare the contents of the Lotus Stra and the style of presentation of its message with the thrust of the Buddha's teachings as they are preserved in the early Buddhist sources, particularly the Sutta Piaka of the Pāli Canon, and also in the Pāli commentarial literature. In the process it attempts to identify in the early sources the precedents of some of the bold statements in the Lotus Stra which appear as complete innovations, (...) but may be elaborations of elements contained in Pāli sources in germinal form. Despite the difference in style, language and mythological imagery, the conclusion is that both the Sutta Piaka and the Lotus Stra express in their respective manners the true spirit of the Buddhist message. Attention is drawn also to the striking parallels between the Buddhist picture of the multiple universe and modern cosmological theories. (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)
I shall elaborate more on the idea of anti-irrationalism proposed by the Polish analytic philosopher Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz, a prominent member of the Lvov-Warsaw School of philosophy and logic. In my reading, anti-irrationalism stands in opposition not only to overt irrationalism, which is made clear by the term itself, but also to all forms of rationalism that tip toward something like worship of reason. Having characterized anti-irrationalism as it originally appeared in Ajdukiewicz’s works, I shall propose a certain reformulation of it, (...) so as to capture a broader philosophical legacy in Poland, primarily, yet not exclusively the Lvov-Warsaw School. (shrink)