Publication 7355

Gallagher S. & Miyahara K. (2012) Neo-pragmatism and enactive intentionality. In: Schulkin J. (ed.) Action, perception and the brain: Adaptation and cephalic expression. Palgrave Macmillan, London: 117–146. Fulltext at
Enactive approaches in cognitive science propose that perception, and more generally cognitive experience, are strongly mediated by embodied (sensory–motor) processes, and that our primary experience of the world is action-oriented or pragmatic (Noë, 2004; Thompson, 2007; Varela et al., 1991). Extended mind theorists propose that cognition supervenes on embodied and environmental processes such as gestures and the use of various technologies (Clark, 2008; Clark and Chalmers, 1998; Menary, 2010). Both enactive and extended conceptions of cognition suggest that the mind is not “in the head”–that cognitive processes are distributed over brain, body, and environment – but they also differ on a number of issues. Extended mind theorists defend a functionalist account of cognition and downplay the role of the body (e.g., Clark, 2008), and they argue that cognition and action can involve mental representations (e.g., Clark, 1997; Clark and Grush, 1999; Rowlands, 2006; Wheeler, 2005). In contrast, enactive theorists argue for radical embodiment (e.g., Thompson and Varela, 2001) and defend an antirepresentationalist view (e.g., Gallagher, 2008b; Hutto, in press; Thompson, 2007). There are also debates about how to define the boundaries, or lack of boundaries, involved in cognitive processes (e.g., Di Paolo, 2009; Wheeler, 2008).


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