Facing Life: The messy bodies of enactive cognitive science

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-18 (forthcoming)
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Descriptions of bodies within the literature of the enactive approach to cognitive science exhibit an interesting dialectical tension. On the one hand, a body is considered to be a unity which instantiates an identity, forming an intrinsic basis for value. On the other, a living body is in a reciprocally defining relationship with the environment, and is therefore immersed and entangled with, rather than distinct from, its environment. In this paper I examine this tension, and its implications for the enactive approach, particularly the enactive conceptions of life and bodies. Following the lead of others, I argue that enactive cognitive science can benefit from a deeper reading and integration with extant work on the complexity and multiplicity of the living body within feminist philosophy and feminist science studies.

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Marek McGann
MIC, Limerick


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