Embodied Functionalism and Inner Complexity: Simon’s 21st-Century Mind

In R. Frantz and L. Marsh (ed.), Minds, Models, and Milieux: Commemorating the Centennial of the Birth of Herbert Simon. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 7–33 (2016)
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This chapter argues that Simon anticipated what has emerged as the consensus view about human cognition: embodied functionalism. According to embodied functionalism, cognitive processes appear at a distinctively cognitive level; types of cognitive processes (such as proving a theorem) are not identical to kinds of neural processes, because the former can take various physical forms in various individual thinkers. Nevertheless, the distinctive characteristics of such processes — their causal structures — are determined by fine-grained properties shared by various, often especially bodily related, physical processes that realize them. Simon’s apparently anti-embodiment views are surveyed and are shown to be consistent with his many claims that lend themselves to an embodied interpretation and that, to a significant extent, helped to lay the groundwork for an embodied cognitive science.
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