Publication 768

Venturelli A. N. (2012) Dewey on the reflex arc and the dawn of the dynamical approach to the study of cognition. Pragmatism Today 3(1): 132–143. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/768
I assess the relevance of John Dewey’s well-known article, “The reflex arc concept in psychology”, for a historical revision of the emergence of the recent embodied approach in the cognitive sciences. In particular, I try to identify its specific contribution in the shift from Dewey’s conceptual analysis to the way in which, during recent years, certain research programs have developed their methodological profile and put it to work in experimental and modeling practices. My hypothesis is that, under a certain interpretation, Dewey’s article plays the role of the main intellectual precursor in the development of embodied cognitive science and, specifically, the related dynamical approach. Relevance: The article assesses the historical roots of the recent group of research programs in “embodied cognitive science,” with particular attention to the underlying shift in methodological profile. Among the conglomerate of programs that can be included within the general denomination of embodied cognitive science, the article focuses on the dynamical approach, which stands out, on the one hand, for its radical character vis-à-vis classical approaches and, on the other hand, for its characteristic brand of cognitive-scientific approach.

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