Taking a Step Back, Moving Forward: Place and Space without Mental Representations
2020, 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The publication of the revised edition of Place and Experience provides the occasion to discuss Malpas' original account of place, and its role in a proper account of the central features of human minds. The first edition is a groundbreaking work on the embodiment and embeddedness of human minds, that prefigures more recent developments of a now established field of research on embodied minds: so-called E accounts. In this paper, I address three issues in Malpas' book that I found problematic at times and unclear at others, and argue that E- accounts, or better, a particular rendering of them, can better dissolve. These interrelated issues are: 1. the use of the idea of mental representations to understand location and orientation; 2. the claim that non-human animals have 'environments' but lack 'worlds', 3. the use of two exclusive vocabularies, the physical and the mental, for describing cognition. I thus question such ideas, associated with traditional accounts of cognition, which not only are responsible for some of the gravest criticisms such accounts have received, but seem inadequate to Malpas' characterization of minds as placed. My recommendation is to take a step back from the traditional framework, and allow ourselves to simply move forward.