Review of Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds without Content

I was invited to write a review of Hutto and Myin’s Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds without Content for The Journal of Mind and Behavior. You can read my largely positive verdict here:

Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds without Content. Daniel D. Hutto and Erik Myin. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2013, 206 pages, $35.00 hardcover

Tom Froese

Increasing numbers of philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists are jumping on the embodied cognition bandwagon. Accordingly, mind is no longer viewed as locked away in some Platonic realm of pure logic, as the computational theory of mind has traditionally proposed. Instead, mind has become identified with purposeful activity in the world, an activity that is realized by the body, extended by usage of tools, and scaffolded by a sociocultural environment.

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6 Comments

  1. Tom Froese said,

    April 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life & Mind Seminar Network and commented:

    Here is my review of Hutto and Myin’s radical enactivism…

  2. April 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    […] very excellent Tom Froese reviews (a final draft) Hutto and Myin for the Journal of Mind and […]

  3. Lana said,

    April 22, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Hi!

    I haven’t finished to read your review, but in the beginning you seem to say that radical enactive cognition and radical embodied cognition are equivalent. Would you really say that they are the same thing or are there some theoretical differences? Maybe a difference of focus?
    I read the 2009 book “Radical Embodied Cognition”, and the author (Chemero) briefly mentions enactivism. I don’t know a lot about it, but when reading your paper about “Motility at the origin of life”, I had the impression that enactivism focuses more on the emergence of intelligence that radical embodied cognition. Or maybe not? I’d be happy to have your opinion.

    • Tom Froese said,

      April 22, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Thank you for your question. I recommend that you contact Chemero, Hutto and Myin directly to see what they have to say, but I would say that their approaches are equivalent. Or at least they share more common ground than either of them does with Varela-style enactivism, since autopoiesis and other aspects of organismic embodiment do not play a foundational role for them. It remains to be seen whether this is a deeper disagreement or just a difference in interest and emphasis.

      In case you are interested in reading more, I compare and contrast embodied-embedded-dynamical approaches with enactive approaches in my 2009 article on enactive artificial intelligence.

      Cheers,
      Tom

      • Lana said,

        April 22, 2014 at 6:41 pm

        Chemero actually claims that Varela is an radical embodied cognitivist and agrees with lots of his stances, so I guess (radical or not) enactivism and radical embodied cognition really do have a lot in common.

        Thank you for your answer!

  4. pitvok said,

    August 6, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for the revies, very usefull to me.


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