4E cognition (embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended) is a relatively young and thriving field of interdisciplinary research. It assumes that cognition is shaped and structured by dynamic interactions between the brain, body, and both the physical and social environments. -/- With essays from leading scholars and researchers, The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition investigates this recent paradigm. It addresses the central issues of embodied cognition by focusing on recent trends, such as Bayesian inference and predictive coding, and presenting new insights, (...) such as the development of false belief understanding. -/- The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition also introduces new theoretical paradigms for understanding emotion and conceptualizing the interactions between cognition, language, and culture. With an entire section dedicated to the application of 4E cognition in disciplines such as psychiatry and robotics, and critical notes aimed at stimulating discussion, this Oxford handbook is the definitive guide to 4E cognition. -/- Aimed at neuroscientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and philosophers, The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in this young and thriving field. (shrink)
The article proposes a theoretical model to account for changes in self due to Deep Brain Stimulation. First, we argue that most existing models postulate a very narrow conception of self, and thus fail to capture the full range of potentially relevant DBS-induced changes. Second, building on previous work by Shaun Gallagher, we propose a modified ‘pattern-theory of self’, which provides a richer picture of the possible consequences of DBS treatment.
Although the enactive approach has been very successful in explaining many basic social interactions in terms of embodied practices, there is still much work to be done when it comes to higher forms of social cognition. In this article, we discuss and evaluate two recent proposals by Shaun Gallagher and Daniel Hutto that try to bridge this ‘cognitive gap’ by appealing to the notion of narrative practice. Although we are enthusiastic about these proposals, we argue that (i) it is difficult (...) to see them as continuous with the enactivist notion of direct coupling, and (ii) the failure to account for folk psychological action interpretation suggests that the enactive approach should adopt a broader notion of coupling. (shrink)
It is generally acknowledged that confabulation undermines the authority of self-attribution of mental states. But why? The mainstream answer is that confabulation misrepresents the actual state of one’s mind at some relevant time prior to the confabulatory response. This construal, we argue, rests on an understanding of self-attribution as first-person mindreading. Recent developments in the literature on folk psychology, however, suggest that mental state attribution also plays an important role in regulating or shaping future behaviour in conformity with normative expectations. (...) We explore an analogue understanding of self-attribution of mental states in terms of first-person mindshaping. The main aim of this paper is to explore how this insight alters the implications of empirical confabulation studies on first-person authority. We also indicate how this sheds new light on the phenomenon of confabulation itself. (shrink)
According to the BD-model of mindreading, we primarily understand others in terms of beliefs and desires. In this article we review a number of objections against explicit versions of the BD-model, and discuss the prospects of using its implicit counterpart as an explanatory model of early emerging socio-cognitive abilities. Focusing on recent findings on so-called ‘implicit’ false belief understanding, we put forward a number of considerations against the adoption of an implicit BD-model. Finally, we explore a different way to make (...) sense of implicit false belief understanding in terms of keeping track of affordances. (shrink)
Empirical evidence suggests that people often confabulate when they are asked about their choices or reasons for action. The implications of these studies are the topic of intense debate in philosophy and the cognitive sciences. An important question in this debate is whether the confabulation studies pose a serious threat to the possibility of self-knowledge. In this paper we are not primarily interested in the consequences of confabulation for self-knowledge. Instead, we focus on a different issue: what confabulation implies for (...) the special status of self-attributions, i.e. first-person authority. In the first part of the paper, we propose that FPA is based on a capacity for self-regulation. Accordingly, FPA depends on the extent to which we are able to bridge the gap between our sayings and doings by aligning our actions with our avowed self-ascriptions and vice versa. FPA is withheld when we fail at such re-alignment. In the second part of the paper, we contrast our view with the accounts of Scaife and Bortolotti :227–249, 2018). We claim that the apparent fact that we cannot reliably distinguish, from a first-person perspective, when we are confabulating and when we are not, does not necessarily undermine FPA. We argue that a systematic failure to align our actions with our self-ascriptions and vice-versa is a genuine threat to FPA. In the last part of the paper, we introduce the concept of self-know-how—the know-how embodied in the way one is disposed to relate to oneself in making sense of oneself with or in the face of others—and briefly explored the importance of diminished or absent self-know-how in clinical cases. (shrink)
Abstract In this article, we investigate the merits of an enactive view of cognition for the contemporary debate about social cognition. If enactivism is to be a genuine alternative to classic cognitivism, it should be able to bridge the “cognitive gap”, i.e. provide us with a convincing account of those higher forms of cognition that have traditionally been the focus of its cognitivist opponents. We show that, when it comes to social cognition, current articulations of enactivism are—despite their celebrated successes (...) in explaining some cases of social interaction—not yet up to the task. This is because they (1) do not pay sufficient attention to the role of offline processing or “decoupling”, and (2) obscure the cognitive gap by overemphasizing the role of phenomenology. We argue that the main challenge for the enactive view will be to acknowledge the importance of both coupled (online) and decoupled (offline) processes for basic and advanced forms of (social) cognition. To meet this challenge, we articulate a dynamic embodied view of cognition. We illustrate the fruitfulness of this approach by recourse to recent findings on false belief understanding. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-23 DOI 10.1007/s11097-011-9223-1 Authors Leon C. de Bruin, Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany Lena Kästner, Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany Journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences Online ISSN 1572-8676 Print ISSN 1568-7759. (shrink)
We challenge Gallagher’s distinction between the sense of ownership and the sense of agency as two separable modalities of experience of the minimal self and argue that a careful investigation of the examples provided to promote this distinction in fact reveals that SO and SA are intimately related and modulate each other. We propose a way to differentiate between the various notions of SO and SA that are currently used interchangeably in the debate, and suggest a more gradual reading of (...) the two that allows for various blends of SO and SA. Such an approach not only provides us with a richer phenomenology but also with a more parsimonious view of the minimal self. (shrink)
Other people in our culture actively transform our behavioral dispositions and mental states by shaping them in various ways. In the following, we highlight three points which Veissière et al. may consider in leveraging their account to illuminate the dynamics by which this occurs, and in particular, to shed light on how social cognition supports, and is supported by, enculturation.
Woodward’s interventionist theory of causation is beset by a problem of circularity: the analysis of causes is in terms of interventions, and the analysis of interventions is in terms of causes. This is not in itself an argument against the correctness of the analysis. But by requiring us to have causal knowledge prior to making any judgements about causation, Woodward’s theory does make it mysterious how we can ever start acquiring causal knowledge. We present a solution to this problem by (...) showing how the interventionist notion of causation can be rationally generated from a more primitive agency notion of causation. The agency notion is easily and non-circularly applicable, but fails when we attempt to capture causal relations between non-actions. We show that the interventionist notion of causation serves as an appropriate generalisation of the agency notion. Furthermore, the causal judgements based on the latter generally remain true when rephrased in terms of the former, which allows one to use the causal knowledge gained by applying the agency notion as a basis for applying Woodward’s interventionist theory. We then present an overview of relevant empirical evidence from developmental psychology which shows that our proposed rational reconstruction lines up neatly with the actual development of causal reasoning in children. This gives additional plausibility to our proposal. The article thus provides a solution to one of the main problems of interventionism while keeping Woodward’s analysis intact. (shrink)
Proponents of mindshaping argue that third-person folk psychology is not primarily about "reading" mental states for the purpose of behavior prediction and explanation. Instead, they claim that third-person folk psychology is first and foremost a regulative practice -- one that "shapes" mental states in accordance with the norms of a shared folk psychological framework. This paper investigates to what extent the core assumptions behind the mindshaping hypothesis are compatible with an account of first-person folk psychology that is based on the (...) notion of "self-regulative agency.". (shrink)
One of the central explananda in the debate on social cognition is the interpretation of other people in terms of reasons for action. There is a growing dissatisfaction among participants in the debate concerning the descriptive adequacy of the traditional belief-desire model of action interpretation. Applying this model as an explanatory model at the subpersonal level threatens to leave the original explanandum largely unarticulated. Against this background we show how Brandom’s deontic scorekeeping model can be used as a valuable descriptive (...) tool for making folk psychology explicit. Following Brandom’s non-formalist and non-mentalistic account of reason discourse, we suggest that the process of making sense of others is best captured as proceeding from a ‘factive’ baseline. According to this picture the ascription of beliefs and desires is not the default interpretation strategy, but rather the result of prior scaffolding of the agent’s deontic score. We close by discussing Brandom’s model in the light of empirical findings on the ontogeny of reason attribution. (shrink)
The article proposes a novel approach to mental agency that is inspired by Victoria McGeer’s work on self-regulation. The basic idea is that certain mental acts leave further work to be done for an agent to be considered an authoritative self-ascriber of corresponding dispositional mental states. First, we discuss Richard Moran’s account of avowals, which grounds first-person authority in deliberative, self-directed agency. Although this view is promising, we argue that it ultimately fails to confront the empirical gap between occurrent judgments (...) and dispositional beliefs. Second, we show how Victoria McGeer's account of self-regulation allows us to bridge this gap by emphasizing that avowals are only reliable and authoritative insofar as we take certain steps to live up to the commitments inherent in our self-ascriptions. Third, we address the question whether and to what extent self-regulation can be seen as a form of mental agency. Unlike the ‘pure’ deliberative form of mental agency advocated by Moran, which is direct, conscious and intra-personal, we follow McGeer and argue for a notion of mental agency as an indirect, unconscious and inter-personal process of self-regulation. (shrink)
Our think tank tasked by the Dutch Health Council, consisting of Radboud University Nijmegen Honours Academy students with various backgrounds, investigated the implications of Deep Brain Stimulation for psychiatric patients. During this investigation, a number of methodological, ethical and societal difficulties were identified. We consider these difficulties to be a reflection of a still fragmented field of research that can be overcome with improved organization and communication. To this effect, we suggest that it would be useful to found a centralized (...) DBS organization. Such an organization makes it possible to 1) set up and maintain a repository, 2) facilitate DBS studies with a larger sample size, 3) improve communication amongst researchers, clinicians and ethical committees, and 4) improve communication between DBS experts and the public at large. (shrink)
In this article we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of mindreading versus embodied cognition approaches to emotion understanding. In the first part of the article we argue that mindreading explanations of how we understand the emotions of others (TT, ST or hybrid) face a version of the frame problem, i.e. the problem of how to limit the scope of the information that is relevant to mindreading. Also, we show that embodied cognition explanations are able to by-pass this problem because they (...) provide a characterization of social understanding as being essentially situated. However, embodied cognition explanations seem to be limited in scope insofar as they do not target the more sophisticated forms of emotion understanding that have traditionally been the main focus of mindreading explanations. In the second part of the article we discuss Goldie’s account of emotion understanding as a possible way to complement embodied cognition approaches without re-introducing the frame problem. We offer two suggestions that might further the integration of Goldie’s account of emotion understanding within the framework of embodied cognition. (shrink)
In this article we take issue with theory theory and simulation theory accounts of folk psychology committed to (i) the belief-desire (BD) model and (ii) the assumption of universality (AU). Recent studies cast doubt on the compatibility of these commitments because they reveal considerable cross-cultural differences in folk psychologies. We present both theory theory and simulation theory with the following dilemma: either (i) keep the BD-model as an account of the surface properties of specific explicit folk psychologies and give up (...) AU in light of the cross-cultural evidence; or (ii) defend AU with respect to core capacities underlying different culture-specific folk psychologies, and explain why the BD-model will be genuinely explanatory at this level. (shrink)
The main aim of this article is to give an assessment of prediction error minimization as a unifying theoretical framework for the study of social cognition. We show how this framework can be used to synthesize and systematically relate existing data from social cognition research, and explain how it introduces new constraints for further research. We discuss PEM in relation to other theoretical frameworks of social cognition, and identify the main challenges that this approach to social cognition will need to (...) address. (shrink)
In this paper, we take issue with the belief?desire model of second- and third-person action interpretation as it is presented by both theory theories and cognitivist versions of simulation theory. These accounts take action interpretation to consist in the (tacit) attribution of proper belief?desire pairs that mirror the structure of formally valid practical inferences. We argue that the belief?desire model rests on the unwarranted assumption that the interpreter can only reach the agent's practical context of action through inference. This assumption (...) betrays a deep-seated bias toward disengaged, observational interpretation strategies. On our alternative picture, the interpreter can start off on the assumption of a shared practical context and proceed to reason discourse in those cases in which this assumption runs aground. Following Brandom's non-formalist account of reason discourse, we suggest that interpreting other people's actions in terms of reasons is not a matter of following the principles of formally valid practical syllogisms, but of endorsing practical material inferences that are correct in virtue of a shared practical world. (shrink)
I discuss the Narrative Practice Hypothesis (NPH) as a new approach to folk psychology, by highlighting some of the main differences between the NPH and so-called 'principled approaches' and elaborating on the importance of the distinction between intentional and propositional attitudes. Furthermore, I address the question whether reason explanations as understood by the NPH constitute a distinctive and autonomous kind of explanation.
The predictable brainIn this paper I give an assessment of the predictive power of brainreading technology by comparing it to our capacity to predict others’ behavior by means of mental state attribution. I identify two constraints that are typically ignored in the literature on brainreading and discuss their implications for the predictive power of brainreading. I conclude that there is little reason to expect that brainreading technology will generate better predictions than everyday mindreading, but that it might offer a good (...) alternative in cases where mindreading underperforms or completely fails. (shrink)
Consciousness, Reductionism and the Explanatory Gap: Investigations in Honor of Rudolf Carnap Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11406-010-9272-7 Authors Leon de Bruin, Institut für Philosophie II, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany Albert Newen, Institut für Philosophie II, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany Journal Philosophia Online ISSN 1574-9274 Print ISSN 0048-3893 Journal Volume Volume 39 Journal Issue Volume 39, Number 1.
The idea that human beings experience their lives as some sort of story and tend to understand themselves as authors of a narrative has become increasingly popular in philosophy. Some philosophers suggest that narratives are indispensable when it comes to answering the traditional question associated with personal (numerical) identity: what makes it the case that the person considered at time t0 is the same person as the person considered at time t1? They claim that taking a narrative approach to this (...) question allows for avoiding some of the problems that arise when attempting to answer it in terms of biological or psychological continuity. Other philosophers point out that narratives primarily have a unifying role with respect to our actions, experiences, beliefs, desires, and character traits. They take narratives to answer what Marya Schechtman (1996) calls “the characterization” question, in that narratives structure our self-experience and characterize us as unique individuals. .. (shrink)