Learning Sciences of Change

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Extended life

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This paper  reformulates some of  the questions  raised by extended mind theorists  from an enactive, life/mind continuity perspective. Because of its reliance on concepts such as autopoiesis, the enactive approach has  been  deemed  internalist  and  thus  incompatible  with  the  extended mind  hypothesis.  This paper  answers  this criticism by  showing 1)  that  the  relation between organism  and  cogniser  is not one of co-extension, 2)  that cognition  is a  relational phenomenon  and  thereby has no  location, and  3)  that  the  individuality of  a  cogniser  is  inevitably  linked with  the question of  its  autonomy,  a question  ignored by  the extended mind hypothesis but  for which  the enactive approach proposes a precise, operational, albeit non-functionalist answer. The paper raises a pespective of embedded and intersecting forms  of  autonomous  identity  generation,  some  of which  correspond  to  the  canonical cases discussed  in  the extended mind  literature, but on  the whole of wider generality. In addressing these  issues, this paper proposes unbiased, non-species specific definitions of cognition, agency and mediation,  thus  filling  in gaps  in  the  extended mind debates  that have  led  to paradoxical  situations and a problematic over-reliance on intutions about what counts as cognitive.

Written by learningchange

14/09/2011 at 10:53