Toward a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science

This book presents the framework for a new, comprehensive approach to cognitive science. The proposed paradigm, enaction, offers an alternative to cognitive science's classical, first-generation Computational Theory of Mind (CTM). Enaction, first articulated by Varela, Thompson, and Rosch in The Embodied Mind (MIT Press, 1991), breaks from CTM’s formalisms of information processing and symbolic representations to view cognition as grounded in the sensorimotor dynamics of the interactions between a living organism and its environment. A living organism enacts the world it lives in; its embodied action in the world constitutes its perception and thereby grounds its cognition. Enaction offers a range of perspectives on this exciting new approach to embodied cognitive science.

Some chapters offer manifestos for the enaction paradigm; others address specific areas of research, including artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, neuroscience, language, phenomenology, and culture and cognition. Three themes emerge as testimony to the originality and specificity of enaction as a paradigm: the relation between first-person lived experience and third-person natural science; the ambition to provide an encompassing framework applicable at levels from the cell to society; and the difficulties of reflexivity. Taken together, the chapters offer nothing less than the framework for a far-reaching renewal of cognitive science.

Contributors: Renaud Barbaras, Didier Bottineau, Giovanna Colombetti, Diego Cosmelli, Hanne De Jaegher, Ezequiel A. Di Paolo. Andreas K. Engel, Olivier Gapenne, Véronique Havelange, Edwin Hutchins, Michel Le Van Quyen, Rafael E. Núñez, Marieke Rohde, Benny Shanon, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, Adam Sheya, Linda B. Smith, John Stewart, Evan Thompson

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

    John Stewart, Olivier Gapenne, and Ezequiel A. Di Paolo

  2. 1. Foundational Issues in Enaction as a Paradigm for Cognitive Science: From the Origin of Life to Consciousness and Writing

    John Stewart

  3. 2. Horizons for the Enactive Mind: Values, Social Interaction, and Play

    Ezequiel A. Di Paolo, Marieke Rohde, and Hanne De Jaegher

  4. 3. Life and Exteriority: The Problem of Metabolism

    Renaud Barbaras

  5. 4. Development through Sensorimotor Coordination

    Adam Sheya and Linda B. Smith

  6. 5. Enaction, Sense-Making, and Emotion

    Giovanna Colombetti

  7. 6. Thinking in Movement: Further Analyses and Validations

    Maxine Sheets-Johnstone

  8. 7. Kinesthesia and the Construction of Perceptual Objects

    Olivier Gapenne

  9. 8. Directive Minds: How Dynamics Shapes Cognition

    Andreas K. Engel

  10. 9. Neurodynamics and Phenomenology in Mutual Enlightenment: The Example of the Epileptic Aura

    Michel Le Van Quyen

  11. 10. Language and Enaction

    Didier Bottineau

  12. 11. Enacting Infinity: Bringing Transfinite Cardinals into Being

    Rafael E. Nunez

  13. 12. The Ontological Constitution of Cognition and the Epistemological Constitution of Cognitive Science: Phenomenology, Enaction, and Technology

    Veronique Havelange

  14. 13. Embodiment or Envatment? : Reflections on the Bodily Basis of Consciousness

    Diego Cosmelli and Evan Thompson

  15. 14. Toward a Phenomenological Psychology of the Conscious

    Benny Shanon

  16. 15. Enaction, Imagination, and Insight

    Edwin Hutchins

  17. Contributors
  18. Index