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Entangled histories: enactivism, representationalism and Frederic Bartlett

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The distributed cognition perspectives (embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended cognition) are not just a new invention, but have long histories in the cognitive sciences. This talk will particularly concern the historical origins of the framework variously known as enactive or enacted cognition, enactivism, or radical embodied cognitive science. The starting point is Anthony Chemero’s helpful schematic history of the framework, and the main contribution is the addition of extra complexity to his picture with particular reference to the work of psychologist Frederic Bartlett in the 1920s and 1930s. This extra complexity suggests that we might have to look in places we might never expect to uncover the roots of radical embodied cognition, and that its apparent kinship to the other distributed cognition frameworks could in fact be the result of a shared family tree. In the light of this, any convergent evidence from apparently disparate members of the distributed cognition family should not impress us too much.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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