Hesperus is Bosphorus

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CFA: Enriching Embodied Cognition (Boğaziçi) 9-11/06/2015

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Call For Abstracts: Enriching Embodied Cognition
Boğaziçi University, Istanbul
June 9th-11th, 2015

Keynote Speakers: Daniel Hutto (Wollongong) and Erik Myin (Antwerp)

This workshop will be centered around material for the manuscript of Hutto and Myin’s latest book, Enriching Embodied Cognition: A Unified Enactivist and Ecological Framework, which is a follow-up to their 2013 book Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds without Content.

Articles and draft material will be circulated to the participants in advance, and in the morning sessions Hutto and Myin will present and discuss core arguments with the participants. In the afternoon participants will present papers. These papers should be on themes discussed in the book, but do not have to be direct responses to Hutto and Myin’s work. If you would be interested in presenting a paper at the workshop, please send a short abstract to istanbulembodied@gmail.com by April 20th. Successful applicants will be informed by April 25th.

Enriching Embodied Cognition: A Unified Enactivist and Ecological Framework will provide an enriched understanding of embodied cognition: showing just how embodied it is and just how it is embodied. This book integrates what is best in the replacement approaches, advancing the sciences of the mind by providing a novel framework for non-representational embodied cognition ­ one that refines and critically synthesizes the main insights of the enactivist and ecological traditions. Hutto and Myin argue that once unified replacement approaches have all that is needed to do the necessary enriching work. In making their case Hutto and Myin highlight a recognized danger ­ call it the Retention Worry ­ that many applications of embodied, enactive cognition, (with headline cases in psychology, psychiatry and sports science) are missing the point. The Retention Worry arises for any account of embodied cognition that retains too much traditional thinking about the role of mental representations in cognition, for such accounts fail to successfully motivate any role for the body or environment, let alone the one identified in the research]. Only by clarifying what, if any, role representations play in cognitive science explanations will we gain a deeper and clearer understanding of the nature of embodied cognition.

This workshop is organized as part of Lucas Thorpe’s Tubitak project: Concepts and Beliefs: From Perception to Action.

The proposed chapter structure of the book can be found below the fold:

Ch. 1: REC: Revolution Effected via Clarification

  • Explicates how Radical Enactive (or Embodied) Cognition (REC) is a project of clarification of existing accounts of Enactive and Embodied Cognition.
  • Evaluate some prominent defensive strategies for responding to REC as presented in Hutto & Myin (2013), including employing “musty thinking” (cognition must be representational), and adopting Fictionalism about representational content.

Ch.2. True Alternatives: REC not CEC

  • Clarifies how REC understands the distinction between basic and non-basic cognition.
  • Argues that if ecological/dynamical accounts of environmental learning suffice without recourse to representational content then cognition and not “mere” behavior lies within REC’s reach.

Ch. 3 An Overly Enactive Imagination?

  • Shows that a contentless account of basic imagination is not only possible, it is superior to standard representationalist proposals.

Ch.4 -Ur–Intentionality and Biosemiotics

  • Distinguishes intentionality construed as target-based from intentionality construed as content-involving and shows that such intentionality isn’t restricted to stereotypic stimulus-response behaviors.
  • Argues that selectionist explanations won’t deliver ‘a theory of content’ as such. But shows they can tell us what the ancestors of a particular sort of device in fact targeted, and thereby, what determines the range of things descendant devices now respond to, extensionally speaking, and why they do so.
  • REC adopts a neutral stance in the philosophy of biology and distances itself from functionalism.

Ch. 5.  Radicals Assembled

  • Shows how RECish renderings of key concepts of ecological dynamics (affordance, direct perception, informational sensitivity) can explain skilled intentionality via a history of (unrepresented) interactions.

Ch. 6.  The Natural Origins of Content

  • Shows why and how REC can allow for and account for content in language.
  • Answers accusations that REC is guilty of saltationism.
  • Replies to the complaint REC is not Radical Enough.

Ch. 7. Radically Enactive Computation: Reasoning tis but RECkoning

  • Explicates REC’s view on computation as fundamentally a socio-cultural practice.
  • Argues that this view makes sense of computation as traditionally conceived without leading to the standard problems.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 30, 2015 at 12:40 pm

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