Enactivist Interventions: Rethinking the Mind

A book review

Avant, Vol. X, No. 3/2019, doi: 10.26913/avant.2019.03.01
published under license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Zuzanna Rucińska
Centre for Philosophical Psychology
University of Antwerp
zuzannaaleksandra.rucinska @ uantwerpen.be

Published Online First 19 July 2019   Download full text

Enactivist Interventions promotes the strengths of an enactive approach to cognitive science and philosophy of mind. In short, the book emphasises the key points of the enactivist tradition, which can be summed up in the following way: cognition is not reducible to brain processes alone, that cognition is principally embodied and embedded, and thereby, the science of the mind should include the body and environmental factors in an important way. Further, the book highlights the enactivist position to cognitive domains such as action, perception and free will. It gives a historical overview that includes the role of embodiment, phenomenology and pragmatism in shaping the enactivist conception of the mind. It also applies some of the modern findings in developmental psychology and neuroscience.

Keywords: cognitive science; enactivism; cognition; mind; body; environment


Brandom, R. B. 1994. Making It Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Clark, A. 2013. Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (3): 181–204. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X12000477

Dennett, D. 1971. Intentional systems. Journal of Philosophy 68 (4), 87–106.

Dewey, J. 1916. Essays in Experimental Logic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

De Jaegher, H., and Di Paolo, E. A. (2007). Participatory sense-making. Phenomenol. Cogn. Sci. 6, 485–507. doi: 10.1007/s11097-009-9136-4

Di Paolo, E. A., and De Jaegher, H. (2012). The interactive brain hypothesis. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 6, 163–163.  doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00163

Gallagher, S. (2017). Enactivist interventions: Rethinking the mind. Oxford University Press.

Godfrey-Smith, P. 2001. On the status and explanatory structure of developmental systems theory. In P. E. Griffiths and R. D. Gray (eds.), Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution (283–98). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Goldman, A. I. and Vignemont, de F. 2009. Is social cognition embodied? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13 (4): 154–9. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2009.01.007

Hohwy, J. 2013. The Predictive Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hutto, D. D., and Myin, E. (2013). Radicalizing enactivism: basic minds without content. Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press.

Kirchhoff, M. 2015. Extended cognition and the causal-constitutive fallacy: In search for a diachronic and dynamical conception of constitution. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2): 320–60. doi: 10.1111/phpr.12039

Merleau-Ponty, M. 1945/2012. Phenomenology of Perception. Trans. D. A. Landes. London: Routledge.

Miłkowski, M. (2018). Autopoiesis nie wywołała rewolucji. In G. Króliczak, K. Łastowski, Ł. Przybylski, P. Przybysz, & M. Urbański (Eds.), Filozof w krainie umysłów. Profesorowi Andrzejowi Klawiterowi w darze (pp. 217–227). Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Wydziału Nauk Społecznych UAM.

Miłkowski, M., Clowes, R., Rucinska, Z., Przegalinska, A., Zawidzki, T., Krueger, J., Gies, A., McGann, M., Afeltowicz, Ł., Wachowski, W., Stjernberg, F., Loughlin, V., Hohol, M. (2018). From Wide Cognition to Mechanisms: A Silent Revolution. Frontiers in Psychology 9, 2393. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02393

O’Regan, K. and Noë, A. 2001. A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23, 939–73. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X01000115

Prinz, J. 2004. Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press.

Siegel, S. 2014. Affordances and the Contents of Perception. In Does Perception Have Content?, Ed. B. Brogaard. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thompson, E., and Stapleton, M. (2009). Making Sense of Sense-Making: Reflections on Enactive and Extended Mind Theories. Topoi 28, 23–30. doi: 10.1007/s11245-008-9043-2

Varela, F. J. (1979). Principles of biological autonomy. New York: North Holland.

Varela, F. J. (1997). Patterns of Life: Intertwining Identity and Cognition. Brain Cogn. 34, 72–87. doi: 10.1006/brcg.1997.0907

Weber, A., and Varela, F. J. (2002). Life after Kant: Natural purposes and the autopoietic foundations of biological individuality. Phenomenol. Cogn. Sci. 1, 97–125. doi: 10.1023/A:1020368120174

“Avant” journal – the task financed under the contract 711/P-DUN/2019 from the funds of the Minister of Science and Higher Education for the dissemination of science.
Czasopismo „Avant” – zadanie finansowane w ramach umowy 711/P-DUN/2019 ze środków Ministra Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego przeznaczonych na działalność upowszechniającą naukę.

Comments are closed.