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How the Body Shapes the Mind is an interdisciplinary work that addresses philosophical questions by appealing to evidence found in experimental psychology, neuroscience, studies of pathologies, and developmental psychology. There is a growing consensus across these disciplines that the contribution of embodiment to cognition is inescapable. Because this insight has been developed across a variety of disciplines, however, there is still a need to develop a common vocabulary that is capable of integrating discussions of brain mechanisms in neuroscience, behavioural expressions in psychology, design concerns in artificial intelligence and robotics, and debates about embodied experience in the phenomenology and philosophy of mind. Shaun Gallagher's book aims to contribute to the formulation of that common vocabulary and to develop a conceptual framework that will avoid both the overly reductionistic approaches that explain everything in terms of bottom-up neuronal mechanisms, and inflationistic approaches that explain everything in terms of Cartesian, top-down cognitive states. Gallagher pursues two basic sets of questions. The first set consists of questions about the phenomenal aspects of the structure of experience, and specifically the relatively regular and constant features that we find in the content of our experience. If throughout conscious experience there is a constant reference to one's own body, even if this is a recessive or marginal awareness, then that reference constitutes a structural feature of the phenomenal field of consciousness, part of a framework that is likely to determine or influence all other aspects of experience. The second set of questions concerns aspects of the structure of experience that are more hidden, those that may be more difficult to get at because they happen before we know it. They do not normally enter into the content of experience in an explicit way, and are often inaccessible to reflective consciousness. To what extent, and in what ways, are consciousness and cognitive processes, which include experiences related to perception, memory, imagination, belief, judgement, and so forth, shaped or structured by the fact that they are embodied in this way?
The Phenomenological Mind is the first book to properly introduce fundamental questions about the mind from the perspective of phenomenology. Key questions and topics covered include: What is phenomenology? naturalizing phenomenology and the empirical cognitive sciences phenomenology and consciousness consciousness and self-consciousness, including perception and action time and consciousness, including William James intentionality the embodied mind action knowledge of other minds situated and extended minds phenomenology and personal identity Interesting and important examples are used throughout, including phantom limb syndrome, blindsight and self-disorders in schizophrenia, making The Phenomenological Mind an ideal introduction to key concepts in phenomenology, cognitive science and philosophy of mind.
How could the body influence our thinking when it seems obvious that the brain controls the body? In How the Body Shapes the Way We Think, Rolf Pfeifer and Josh Bongard demonstrate that thought is not independent of the body but is tightly constrained, and at the same time enabled, by it. They argue that the kinds of thoughts we are capable of have their foundation in our embodiment -- in our morphology and the material properties of our bodies.This crucial notion of embodiment underlies fundamental changes in the field of artificial intelligence over the past two decades, and Pfeifer and Bongard use the basic methodology of artificial intelligence -- "understanding by building" -- to describe their insights. If we understand how to design and build intelligent systems, they reason, we will better understand intelligence in general. In accessible, nontechnical language, and using many examples, they introduce the basic concepts by building on recent developments in robotics, biology, neuroscience, and psychology to outline a possible theory of intelligence. They illustrate applications of such a theory in ubiquitous computing, business and management, and the psychology of human memory. Embodied intelligence, as described by Pfeifer and Bongard, has important implications for our understanding of both natural and artificial intelligence.
An account of the different ways in which things have become cognitive extensions of the human body, from prehistory to the present.
Introduction: bringing the body to mind -- Cognitive science and Dewey's theory of mind, thought, and language -- Cowboy bill rides herd on the range of consciousness -- We are live creatures: embodiment, American pragmatism, and the cognitive organism / Mark Johnson and Tim Rohrer -- The meaning of the body -- The philosophical significance of image schemas -- Action, embodied meaning, and thought -- Knowing through the body -- Embodied realism and truth incarnate -- Why the body matters
Enactivist Interventions is an interdisciplinary work that explores how theories of embodied cognition illuminate many aspects of the mind, including intentionality, representation, the affect, perception, action and free will, higher-order cognition, and intersubjectivity. Gallagher argues for a rethinking of the concept of mind, drawing on pragmatism, phenomenology and cognitive science. Enactivism is presented as a philosophy of nature that has significant methodological and theoretical implications for the scientific investigation of the mind. Gallagher argues that, like the basic phenomena of perception and action, sophisticated cognitive phenomena like reflection, imagining, and mathematical reasoning are best explained in terms of an affordance-based skilled coping. He offers an account of the continuity that runs between basic action, affectivity, and a rationality that in every case remains embodied. Gallagher's analysis also addresses recent predictive models of brain function and outlines an alternative, enactivist interpretation that emphasizes the close coupling of brain, body and environment rather than a strong boundary that isolates the brain in its internal processes. The extensive relational dynamics that integrates the brain with the extra-neural body opens into an environment that is physical, social and cultural and that recycles back into the enactive process. Cognitive processes are in-the-world rather than in-the-head; they are situated in affordance spaces defined across evolutionary, developmental and individual histories, and are constrained by affective processes and normative dimensions of social and cultural practices.
This book develops an account of the parent–child relationship in order to articulate the essential structure of intersubjectivity as fundamentally ethically-oriented, dialogical, and mutually dynamic. Drawing on the philosophical projects of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Emmanuel Levinas, as well as recent research in cognitive neuroscience and child development research, this work will be of interest to those working in the fields of continental philosophy, embodied cognition, philosophy of childhood, psychoanalysis, psychology, philosophy for children (P4C), and education.

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