Authors’ Response: Enactivism, Cognitive Science, and the Jonasian Inference

Constructivist Foundations 11 (2):228-233 (2016)
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Upshot: In our target article we claimed that, at least since Weber and Varela, enactivism has incorporated a theoretical commitment to one important aspect of Jonas’s philosophical biology, namely its anthropomorphism, which is at odds with the methodological commitments of modern science. In this general reply we want to clarify what we mean by anthropomorphism, and explain why we think it is incompatible with science. We do this by spelling out what we call the “Jonasian inference,” i.e., the idea that we are entitled, based on our first-person experience of teleology, to take the appearance of teleology in other living beings at face value.

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Dave Ward
University of Edinburgh


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