The Life & Mind Seminar Network

Seminar #44: Armchair Embodiment: Is there a continuity to the body’s role in cognition, from sensorimotor action to philosophical pondering?

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on November 27, 2008

We will have the next Life and Mind seminar on Wednesday, the 3rd Dec. 2008, 16:30-18:00, Room Pev. 1 2A03.

For this seminar we are pleased to have Marek McGann talk to us about some of the work he has been doing at the University of Limerick since he graduated with a D.Phil. in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science from Sussex in 2005. Here is the title and abstract of the paper:

Armchair Embodiment: Is there a continuity to the body’s role in cognition, from sensorimotor action to philosophical pondering?

Dr. Marek McGann
Department of Psychology
MIC, University of Limerick, Ireland

My aim in this seminar will be to stoke some discussion on just what part the body plays in abstract cognition. When the longer term actions (projects that take from days to months to complete, for example) we perform are taken into account, can the enactive approach defend the claim that the body is doing more than just implementing cognition? Once an agent goes through what Merlin Donald calls “deep enculturation” and develops a repertoire of complex emotional responses (in the form of somatic markers or otherwise), do we need anything other than a neural theory of cognition? And finally, is it possible to have a theory of embodiment? That is, can we produce a general account of the body’s role in cognition such that a continuity can be shown between basic “lower” sensorimotor actions and more abstract “higher” cognitive functions? I will have a few things to say on these issues, but my main intention here is to provoke a few arguments.

All welcome!

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