Breathing new life into cognitive science

Tom Froese

Abstract:
In this article I take an unusual starting point from which to argue for a unified cognitive science, namely a position defined by what is sometimes called the ‘life-mind continuity thesis’. Accordingly, rather than taking a widely accepted starting point for granted and using it in order to propose answers to some well defined questions, I must first establish that the idea of life-mind continuity can amount to a proper starting point at all. To begin with, I therefore assess the conceptual tools which are available to construct a theory of mind on this basis. By drawing on insights from a variety of disciplines, especially from a combination of existential phenomenology and organism-centered biology, I argue that mind can indeed be conceived as rooted in life, but only if we accept at the same time that social interaction plays a constitutive role for our cognitive capacities.

Keywords: autopoiesis, cognitive science, enactivism, mind, phenomenology.

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