Publication 5673

Boncompagni A. (2013) Enactivism and the “explanatory trap”: A Wittgensteinian perspective. In: Methode 2: 27–49. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/5673
This paper explores the enactive approach in cognitive science with an eye on the later Wittgenstein’s philosophy. The aim is not that of answering the question: was Wittgenstein an ante litteram enactivist? He was not, because he was not an ante litteram (cognitive) scientist of any kind. The aim, conversely, is that of answering the question: can enactivism be Wittgensteinian? In answering positively, it will be argued that a Wittgensteinian framework can help enactive cognitive scientists in dissolving certain old problems which they sometimes seem not to be able to get rid of. After the Introduction, the first two sections of the paper concern the Wittgensteinian standpoint on psychological concepts (Section 2) and the enactivist approach in its general terms (Section 3). Section 4 attempts a closer examination of some key concepts – chiefly representations, the inner, the “explanatory gap,” the “hard problem” of consciousness – considering both the enactivists’ and Wittgenstein’s attitude towards them. The Conclusion surmises the benefits of a Wittgensteinian perspective also hinting at some other problems which it can help to clarify.

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