Dewey, Enactivism and Greek Thought

In Roman Madzia & Matthaus Jung (eds.), Pragmatism and Embodied Cognitive Science: From Bodily Interaction to Symbolic Articulation. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter. pp. 229-246 (2016)
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In this chapter, I examine how Dewey circumnavigated debates between empiricists and a priorists by showing that active bodies can perform integrative operations traditionally attributed to “inner” mechanisms, and how he thereby realized developments at which the artificial intelligence, robotics and cognitive science communities only later arrived. Some of his ideas about experience being constituted through skills actively deployed in cultural settings were inspired by ancient Greek sources. Thus in some of his more radical moments, Dewey refined rather than invented the wheel, and I suggest that prominent embodiment figures have done the same, Dewey having anticipated them, particularly Noë and his version of enactivism. I urge that cognitive science may progress into relatively unexplored territory by traveling Dewey’s historically sensitive path.

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Matthew Crippen
Grand Valley State University


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