Introduction to the special issue on 4E cognition



Publication Details

Menary, R. A. 2010, 'Introduction to the special issue on 4E cognition', Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 459-463.


One thing that has become clear in the last 10 to 15 years of research on cognition is that there are many different dimensions of modelling an explanation at work. Homogeneity there is not. One only needs to thin of the differences in emphasis and approach that one finds under the often grouped together labels of embodied, embedded, extended and enacted cognition. One reason that the four E's are grouped together is that they are all held to reject or at least radically reconfigure traditional cognitivism, couple with a methodological individualism. However, we might ask whether simply lumping, for example, cognitive extension together with enactivism is to miss out on the nuances and sometimes genuine incompatibilities between them. Enactivism, as understood by the likes of Thompson and DiPaulo, is a thesis about the continuity between life and mind. The position appears to be quite incompatible with an extended functionalism, which abstracts away from biological details.

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