The Life & Mind Seminar Network

Battle08 Participants

List of Participants:

This is the list of participants for the Workshop on Enactive Approaches to Social Cognition. If any of the participants want their picture or description changed, please e-mail one of the workshop organizers.

Invited speakers:

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Charles Lenay

COSTECH, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France

My research is structured around two central themes: the question of ignorance, and the question of technical artefacts:- What is this faculty we have that enables us to know that there is something we do not know? Where does it come from? How does it function, both at the individual level and at the level of history?- What do technical artefacts make of us? How is it that technical devices (both tools that can be grasped, and environments that are constructed) are constitutive of our humanity? How do they participate in the formation of our lived experience, in our cognitive activities and our social organization?Initially a historian of science (with a training in biology), I have analysed the ways in which the theme of ignorance, variously formulated according to the socio-historical situation and context of the scientists, has contributed to scientific invention.Since the 1990’s my research has been oriented towards cognitive science, and in particular the study of perceptual prosthetic devices in the framework of theories of enaction. I thus set up the Perceptual Supplementation Group in the framework of the Research group COSTECH at the Technological University of Compiègne. In this context, I developed a minimalist experimental paradigm allowing a systematic study of technically mediated coupling between the organism and its environment. Since 2007, I am Director of this research team COSTECH (Knowledge, Organization and Technical Systems). This highly interdisciplinary team has the general research theme of studying the constitutive links between human beings, society and technology, ranging from economics to cognitive science by way of semiotics and philosophy.

In recent years, I have concentrated my research efforts on the question of the formation of technological communities, i.e. the constitution of a common world of objects and values. My general hypothesis is that perceptual interactions are the basis for specific aesthetics related to each technical mediations. The study of variations in human experience related to variations in technology appears to be a good method for trying to understand the nature and the genesis of such experience. In this way, we set up a new form of dialogue between phenomenological observations and scientific explanations.

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Maxine Sheets-Johnstone

University of Oregon, USA

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone is an interdisciplinary scholar who received her B.A. in French (minor in Comparative Literature) from the University of California at Berkeley, her M.A. in Dance and her Ph.D. in Dance and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin. She studied for but did not complete a second doctorate in evolutionary biology at the University of Wisconsin.
In her first life, she was a choreographer/dancer, dance scholar/professor of dance, during which time she choreographed 25 dances, performed in 13 of them, was sole artistic director of 5 concerts including two full-length concerts of her own works, and was the organizer-director-narrator of numerous lecture-demonstrations. Two books were published during this life: The Phenomenology of Dance (1966; 2nd editions 1979, 1980) and Illuminating Dance: Philosophical Explorations (1984).
In her second and continuing life, she is a philosopher who writes extensively on a broad range of topics, especially from a phenomenological, evolutionary, and ontogenetic perspective. She taught periodically in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon over a period of ten years and holds an ongoing Courtesy Professor appointment in the Department. She was awarded a Distinguished Fellowship in Spring 2007 by the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University as part of its inaugural program on “The Legacy of Charles Darwin,” her research subject being on xenophobia. Several books have been published during this life: The Roots of Thinking (1990), Giving the Body Its Due (1992), The Roots of Power: Animate Form and Gendered Bodies (1994), The Primacy of Movement (1999), and The Roots of Morality (2008), a book that completes her “Roots” trilogy. The Corporeal Turn: An Interdisciplinary Reader will be published in March 2009. Her current research is on xenophobia.
More than 50 articles have been published in humanities, science, and art journals across both lives, including “Consciousness: A Natural History,” “On Movement and Objects in Motion,” “Existential Fit and Evolutionary Continuities,” “Emotions and Movement: A Beginning Empirical-Phenomenological Analysis of Their Relationship,” “‘Man Has Always Danced’: Forays into an Art Largely Forgotten by Philosophers,” “Hunting and the Evolution of Human Intelligence: An Alternative View,” “Death and Immortality Ideologies in Western Philosophy,” “An Empirical-Phenomenological Critique of the Social Construction of Infancy,” and “On Bacteria, Corporeal Representation, Neandertals, and Martha Graham: Steps toward an Evolutionary Semantics.” Numerous guest lectures and keynote addresses have also been given across both lives, in Europe as well as in the US.

Organizers:

Ezequiel Di Paolo

CCNR, COGS, University of Sussex, UK

Webpage

I am a Reader in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems at the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics. My interests include adaptive behaviour in natural and artificial systems, biological modelling (niche construction, minimal cellular systems), complex systems engineering (air traffic control, spatial complex networks), evolutionary robotics (homeostatic adaptation, communication, minimal cognition), psychology (cognitive development, social cognition), and enactive cognitive science (autopoiesis, agency, sense-making).
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Steve Torrance

COGS, University of Sussex, UK

I’m a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, with links to the Centre for Research in Cognitive Science (COGS) and the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics (CCNR). I have recently published special journal issues on Enactive Experience (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2 issues, 2005 and 2007); Machine Consciousness (Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2007) and Ethics and Artificial Agents (Artificial Intelligence and Society, 2008). My research covers the philosophical, ethical and social ramifications of the cognitive and consciousness sciences. My current interests include an examination of interiority and exteriority in relation to the understanding of experience in a social-interactive context.

Hanne De Jaegher

Psychiatry, Heidelberg University, Germany

Webpage

Two questions seem always last to receive attention in social cognition research: What is the role of the interaction process? and Where does meaning come from? I believe these are pivotal to the investigation of social cognition, and that ‘enaction’ (the Varela-Thompson-Di Paolo approach) is the most promising route for providing answers, with its concepts of sense-making, autonomy and emergence, its approach to agency, and its emphasis on experience not only as topic of study, but also as investigatory tool. I’m looking at the role of the interaction process in social cognition – which I think can take on a form of autonomy. This leads to the conceptualisation of social understanding as participatory sense-making, an approach that perhaps brings the above questions together. I also apply this to autism.

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Tom Froese

CCNR, COGS, University of Sussex, UK

Webpage

In recent years enactive cognitive science has developed the notion of sense-making to denote that activity by which a living being constitutes its lived world. It has been claimed that there are two systemic requirements which are necessary to account for this sense-making: (i) constitutive autonomy, and (ii) adaptivity. The central claim of my dissertation is that these two requirements are necessary but not sufficient conditions for many kinds of sense-making (i.e. those involved in constituting a lived world that is experienced as a public domain shared with other subjects), and that the addition of another requirement, namely the capacity to detect social contingency, is also necessary.

Participants:

Vasu Reddy

University of Portsmouth, UK

Webpage

I am interested in the origins and development of social cognition, mainly in young infants. For twenty years now I have been exploring the role of emotional engagement in social understanding, focusing on the everyday, ordinary engagements (such as teasing and joking and showing-off or feeling shy) which often tend to get ignored in mainstream theories. I am a member of the Centre for the Study of Emotion. This interest in engagement as the route to understanding has led me to questions about the nature and influence of cultural engagements on social understanding. I am also a member of the Centre for Human Ecology, Culture and Communication. I am currently intrigued – in relation to infants, in relation to adults and indeed in relation to psychologists – how engagement must constantly either alternate or somehow integrate with dis-engagement.

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John Stewart

COSTECH, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France

My central research interest is the conjoint epistemology and foundational theory of biology and cognitive science, in particular Autopoiesis, Closure under efficient causation, and Enaction. On the biological side, I have a particular interest for a renewal of the relations between genetics and a biology of organisms (reference: Stewart J “La Vie existe-t-elle? Réconcilier génétique et biologie”, Vuibert 2004, English version available on request). On the side of cognitive science, I have a particular interest for the articulation with Husserlian phenomenology, with social science (including sociology of science, which introduces a reflexive dimension), and with a Philosophy of Technology which sees Technology as constitutive of specifically human life-forms.
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Marieke Rohde

CCNR, COGS, University of Sussex, UK

Webpage

I have recently finished my DPhil on Evolutionary Robotics Simulation Models in the Study of Human Behaviour and Cognition at the University of Sussex and currently work as a reserach fellow at the Ikegami Lab of the University of Tokyo. I am interested in the dynamics of behaviour and cognition, in particular in the sensorimotor invariants underlying perception and perceptual experience. In my research, I combine empirical, philosophical and formal methods. My main interest in the workshop on Enactive approaches to Social Cognition is in its potential to study the dynamics of embodied interaction between cognitive agents, and how it forms and constrains our cognitive world (for instance, our perception of others and of ourselves as subjects).
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Marek McGann

MIC, University of Limerick, Ireland

My interests lie in developing an account of motivation, goals and goal-directedness within the enactive approach, something which I have tried to argue that the approach requires.Goals come in varying kinds, from those that seem to be wholly explained by the demands of immediate biological functioning (basic concerns or interest of an organism), to more complex and flexible forms of goal-directedness, where mechanisms of learning allow an organism to explore more intricate and mediate forms of cognition (exhibitted in the boundedly rational behaviour of animals capable of operant learning, for example), to the rich and socially constructed cognitive processes that organised culture provide for (such as science).My particular interest in social processes therefore concerns the manner in which many of our motivations and goals arise within the structure of social and cultural practices. How are motivations distributed across agent-agent and agent-culture interactions? How do these more culturally structured goals interact with more biological aspects of embodied activity?

Fred Cummins

University College Dublin, Ireland

Webpage

I am a cognitive scientist, whose work has focussed on coordination and dynamical modelling. Over the last few years, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with received positions in psychology and indeed cognitive science. The failure of cognitive science to fully acknowledge our experienced worlds is at the heart of this, but its symptoms include the failure to say anything worth saying about madness, sex, desire, and such.With my background in dynamics and ecological psychology, I have begun developing a rich thesis about how experience might figure in a fuller ontology of mind and world. An initial statement is at http://pworldrworld.com, and elaborations and developments are in the works. The thesis I have developed appears to me to be startlingly close to enactive views on cognition. Furthermore, my own view is that a proper acknowledgement of the phenomenological and subjective aspects to our constitution lead inevitably to a rich and quite novel view of the collective or social aspect of our being. So I’m excited by this community attempt to explore ramifications of enaction for social accounts.

Sanneke De Haan

Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet Heidelberg, Germany

I am interested in what people need in order to experience themselves as persons, that is, as authentic, autonomous agents. I think that the traditional views on autonomy offer too activist, reflective and volitional accounts of personhood – thereby taking for granted a more basic sense of self that underlies these capacities. This basic sense of self is a pre-reflective self-awareness, rooted somehow in our bodies, enabling us to spontaneously interact with our (social) environment.As part of the European DISCOS project, I interview young schizophrenic patients on their self-experiences: people for whom their selves have become a problem. They seem to be lacking precisely this pre-reflective self-awareness. The question is how did they loose it and how could they resurrect it again (if that is possible)? Promising therapies in this respect seem to be: (a) body-oriented therapies (how to experience the pre-reflective level again?), (b) mindfullness therapies (can hyper-reflectivity be turned into a healthy self-awareness?), and (c) narrative therapies (how can your attitude towards your experiences help to integrate and strenghten your sense of self?).Phenomenological research in psychopathology can help to clarify aspects of otherwise unitary experiences. And psychiatry can profit from philosophical investigations of their concepts, like for instance the concept of self.Questions for further research include: how to understand the (bodily) nature of pre-reflective self-awareness? And how is it connected to the volitional, reflective level of self? How do common sense and personhood relate? And what is their connection to body memory?
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Claire Petitmengin

Institut Telecom and CREA, Ecole Polytechnique, France

Webpage

My current research is in pre-reflective lived experience and in methods enabling us to become aware of its dynamic structure and to describe it. I am particularly interested in trying to describe the micro-dynamics of experiences such as the emergence of a perception, of a memory or an idea. This leads me to explore a deeply embodied, gestural and transmodal dimension of our experience, also characterised by a greater permeability between the interior and exterior spaces. This dimension seems to play an essential role in the process of expressing, of understanding, and in our interpersonal relationships. In this perspective, I explore the hypothesis according to which enaction – that is the process of co-emergence of inside and outside, subject and object, “me” and “the other” – could be verified “in the first person”, could be a lived experience.
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Bill Sharpe

Independent Researcher, UK

Webpage

I have spent my career in the computer industry trying to make things that interact well with humans based on understanding human cognition. I first came across the ideas of enactive cognition and the work of Francisco Varela in the rather unusual context of a talk he gave to a specialist workshop about ten years ago on business concept innovation, which was the first indication of the breadth of impact of his work. In recent years I have had more freedom to pursue research interests, and in particular have been working with the International Futures Forum on a long term project exploring the notion of a healthy ecology of the arts in society. This has caused me to work across many disciplines with a view to finding system concepts that can draw many different perspectives together that relate to understanding notions of value, and I have found the language of enactive cognition very fruitful for the way it resonates strongly in many other areas that currently use different vocabulary to tackle these questions. More details of this project can be found here.There will also be a euCognition workshop on Cognition and Culture: an enactive view, later this year, organised by Fred Cummins and myself.
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Pierre Steiner

COSTECH, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France

Webpage

I have recently finished my PhD on Pragmatisms, Externalisms and Philosophies of Cognitive Science at the Université de Provence. I am currently a Reader at the Université de Compiègne, France. My research themes are clustered around epistemology of cognitive science, philosophy of social sciences and philosophy of technology. Thematically, they concern foundational issues such as the possibility of non-representationalism in cognitive science, the many faces, scopes and one-sided limits of various externalist theories of mind and cognition (from dynamical and vehicle-based to normative and institutional approaches), and some epistemological stakes related to the building of an (autopoiesis-based) enactive paradigm in cognitive science (for instance, the need to consider together the social dimensions and the technological dimensions of cognition).One of my main interest in the workshop is to discuss the scope and (possible) limits of bottom-up models of interaction that consider the dyad (and not possibly the triad or the Deweyan transaction) as the starting point of social (and not merely collective) interactions, and to consider some historical resources (French sociology, Pragmatism,..) that might help us to better frame the relevance of some Enactive Approaches to Social Cognition.
Battle08 Rachel Wood

Universita’ Degli Studi Di Parma
Dipartimento di Neuroscienza, Italy

Having completed a D.Phil on the use of evolutionary robotics as a methodology for modeling developmental systems at the University of Sussex I am now working as a Marie Curie research fellow at the Parma node of DISCOS (Disorders and Coherence of the Embodied Self). My current research focusses on the neurophysiological bases of self-other interaction using EMG, TMS and fMRI techniques to explore sensorimotor components of social cognition.I am interested to understand how our interpretations of others and our interactions with them are mediated by the body and its capacity to act. One aspect of my current work involves experiments exploring deficits in emotion recognition in adults with Moebius syndrome (a form of congenital facial paralysis). I am also concerned with trying to develop a fully enactive understanding of recent findings in neuroscience on the ‘mirroring’ capacities of neurons located in human frontal and parietal lobes (also observed in some primate species).Mirror neurons are active when an individual performs an action and when the individual observes that same action performed by another (usually a conspecific). It is hypothesised that the activity of mirror neurons plays a fundamental role in many aspects of socially mediated cognition including intention understanding and imitation. Important questions about how mirroring properties might be acquired and how they contribute to embodied social interaction remain to be answered.
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Stephen Cowley

University of Hertfordshire, UK

Webpage

I am a Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at Hertfordshire. My empirical work has focused on prosody in conversations (I trained as a linguist), mother-infant interactions and child-child co-action (often, mediated by social robots). With Nigel Love, I founded the Distributed Language Group whose ambitious goal is that of transforming the language sciences. We reconceptualise the diverse and heterogeneous activities called ‘language’ as modes of co-action. The DLG is a broad group who promote –not a theory –but a naturalistic perspective on how language is possible.Here is my personal view. Much thinking uses voice dynamics that operate in micro-time scales (tens and hundreds of milliseconds). These connect individual bodies. While prompting action, we also orient to second-order cultural constructs (including ‘words’ and ‘rules’). We find ourselves intrinsically motivated to orchestrate activity as social agents or persons. In this guise, we rely heavily on non-local information. First-person phenomenology (e.g. words actually spoken) has a supporting role. This is very clear in ontogenesis. Babies exploit first-order language (see, Cowley et al. 2004), long before they hear utterances as utterances of something. In engaging with a physical and cultural world, they concert while using the promptings of others.So I am a sceptic about (philosophical) enactivism. Rather than emphasise first-person experience, I view the powers of living systems as based in biosemiotic and other processes. In humans, these are supplemented by massive use of non-local resources. First, we interact and co-engage; later, as persons, we construe experience.
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Xabier Barandiaran

IAS, University of the Basque Country

Webpage

My central interest is the emergence of cognitive identity and normativity from a biologically grounded, embodied, situated and dynamicist point of view. Up to now I have mostly devoted my research towards the individual level of analysis, developing a notion of cognitive identity and normativity at the level of sensorimotor organization and coherency, without exploring its social dimensions. I would like to explore a new research project on social technologies and the way they shape cognitive identity and normativity through the institutionalized structuring of behaviour. Social technologies can be understood as forms of structuring and articulating social interactions for the attainment of a goal, but might soon acquire a life of their own and a self-reinforcing capacity. How do this type of technologies shape cognitive identity and normativity? In brief I am newly interested on exploring some Foucaultian themes with the tools of dynamical systems and agent-based modelling.
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Giovanna Colombetti

University of Exeter, UK

Webpage

I am a philosopher of cognitive science… or rather of “affective science”. Since my PhD I have tried to (re)conceptualize the relationship between cognition and emotion from a dynamical systems and embodied-enactive perspective. I have argued, for example, that the process of “cognitive appraisal” is not separate from the one of “bodily arousal” (a traditional distinction in the psychology and philosophy of emotion) but is rather thoroughly embodied. More recently, I have criticized the view that (at least some) emotions are affect programs, and I have argued that they should rather be seen as self-organizing “dynamical discrete emotions”. I am currently working on a paper that explores the various ways in which language interacts with emotion experience.At the workshop I would like to learn more about the intersubjective and social dimension of the enactive approach, and think about how it fits with my own work on emotion; I am particularly interested in whether and how the “developmental systems” approach that features in the enactive approach (e.g. Thompson 2007) can be used to undermine the distinction between “innate” and “acquired” aspects of emotions. I hope I will profitably interact with other researchers with an interest in the phenomenology and science of emotion and intersubjectivity.

Nikki Moran

IMHSD (Institute for Music in Human and Social Development), University of Edinburgh, UK

The experience of musical interaction is reliant on human bodies and their organised movement in response to a dynamic and social world, and yet the topic of musical interaction seems to be a largely unmined source for social cognition studies. My research examines the ways in which musicians communicate with one another and their audiences, using a combined methodology of behavioural analysis of video-recorded instances of North Indian classical music interaction, alongside ethnographic study of qualitative material (including interviews with musicians and accounts of practical music lessons). Specifically, the research addresses the embodied and socially interactive nature of musical behaviour, using video evidence of musicians’ patterns of attention and gestural communication. I am a Lecturer in Music at Edinburgh University.

David Leavens

Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, UK

I’m a biopsychologist with primary interests in nonverbal communication by apes and humans (especially babies) and behavioural indices of anxiety.Much of my research into chimpanzee communication stems from a disturbing realisation, in 1994, that I had been trained to a high standard of performance by a chimpanzee named Clint. Current research topics include:1. How chimpanzees manipulate the attention of their social partners, with Dr. Bill Hopkins and Dr. Jared Taglialatela, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Ms. Autumn Hostetter, University of Wisconsin. (1994 to present)2. How human babies and their parents share attention, with Dr. Brenda Todd, City University. (2000-present)3. How self-directed behaviours (such as scratching) by chimpanzees and humans change in response to manipulations of task difficulty or anxiety, with Dr. Filippo Aureli, Liverpool Johns Moore University, and Dr. Bill Hopkins, Yerkes National Primate Research Center. (1996-present)4. Age-related changes in mirror self-recognition in human children, with Dr. Kim Bard, University of Portsmouth, and Dr. Brenda Todd, City University (2004-present).

5. Social cognitive development in human infants, with Dr. Timothy Racine, University of Manitoba, Canada (2006-present).6. Kinaesthetic-tactile detection of agency in a minimalist communication system, a project on which I serve as a consultant to Dr. Ezequiel Di Paolo, Dr. Hanneke De Jaegher, and Dr. Rachel Wood, and their colleagues at the Informatics Department at the University of Sussex. (2007-present).


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Manuela Jungmann

COGS, University of Sussex, UK


Digital technology has permeated the cultural dimension of global society while new media has formed the material basis for digitally derived communication tools and new forms of artistic expression. As a result, these communication tools have created an unprecedented intimacy between technology and humans by enlarging the territory for social interaction. If this progress in communication and interaction is reciprocally tied to cognition then the question arises, what constitutes meaningful interaction? From this premise and specifically via artistic expression I am interested in an art-science fusion, which is underpinned by a recursive dynamic between new media art, science and public. Whereby the perceptual engagement of the public with the artwork is an integral part in this dynamic. The ‘science’ component is the development of a pathway with scientific value, a methodological approach that engenders the study of meaningful social interaction beyond mere evaluation of these artworks or cultural tools. In other words, a methodological approach aimed at gaining understanding of cognitive processes that are facilitated by these new channels, and how social interaction might be evolved in future works. A successful scientific approach within this context must allow for discussion of cultural values and investigate how values are related to an autonomous, embodied cognitive system that is embedded in the environment via situated action. The enactive approach per Maturana/Varela is a promising candidate in the shaping of such an artscience fusion.
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Rob Clowes

COGS, University of Sussex, UK

Webpage

Rob Clowes is a semi free-lance intellectual currently employed by the University of Sussex to teach philosophy. He works on core philosophy of cognitive science issues especially language, thought and consciousness and is especially interested in their historical character and determinants. He also occasionally does modelling work. Recent publications have been on the methods and possibilities of artificial consciousness. He is currently researching a book on social networking technologies as a prism into the relationship between humanity and technology.
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Susan Stuart

University of Glasgow, UK

Webpage

My interests are in the body and its capacity, as a distributed embodied system in the world, to anticipate and enact its future. I have described this as a kinaesthetic imagination and I am currently developing a theory for how it is a transcendental condition alongside the conditions for the application of the productive / cognitive imagination, and a further underpinning for the activity of the reproductive / creative imagination, both of which Kant presents in his first Critique.It is the body’s non-self-conscious capacity to anticipate and predict how the world will continue to be that I find fascinating, and it is that which I intend to speak about at the workshop. At the moment I’m still thinking very carefully about how to do this but one possibility is to incorporate some notion of causal feedback loops, where both upward and downward causation must be a reality for the organism to be extended out into its world.I will also touch on the diachronic nature of kinaesthetic experience, arguing that just as we have a diachronic experience of a melody or the sweep of our visual experience, we must also have diachronic kinaesthetic experience if we are to enable the truly enactive embodied system.My other interests include the possibility of machine consciousness, phenomenology and technology, intersubjectivity, empathy and anguishing late into the night about Dennett’s claims for heterophenomenology, what we can learn about the nature of consciousness from the study of neuropathologies, and Samuel Beckett’s diminution of the body in his plays.

Miriam Kyselo

University of Osnabrück, Germany

Webpage

I am a PhD-student working at the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück. The topic of my PhD is the The Extended and Enacted Self – On Describing the Constitution and Phenomenology of the Self with Respect to the Interaction with Language based Technologies. I am also investigating the implication of medical neurological research for an enactive approach to consciousness, especially with respect to Locked-In Syndrome. Currently, I am working on a co-authored paper confronting the philosophical perspective with recent empirical data.

Chris Goldspink

University of Surrey, UK

Webpage

I have been a self-employed social researcher and organizational consultant for the past 15 years. My interest is in the development of a theory of sociality which can account for the reciprocal interpenetration of micro and macro phenomena. In a long term collaboration with Robert Kay I have been developing an account of the mechanisms of social emergence which combines complex systems theory with the theory of autopoietic systems, the core ideas were set out in a paper titled ‘Bridging the Micro-Macro Divide: a new basis for social science’. Our approach incorporates an enactive view of cognition (see ‘Autopoiesis and organizations: A biological view of organizational change and methods for its study’, in review; and ‘Autopoiesis: Building a Bridge between Knowledge Management and Complexity’ – forthcoming).Most recently I have become interested in how the biological capabilities and developmental pathways that are characteristically human might support different orders of emergence. A central concern here is with the role language plays both in reflexive identity forming and in the establishment of non-physical structures – or structures of convergent meaning – as collective cognitive extensions (some of this is explored in ‘Towards a socio-ecological View of emergence: the reflexive turn’.
For the past two years (ending this November) I have been based at the University of Surrey working on an EU funded project title ‘Emergence in the Loop’. EMIL is concerned to understand the mechanisms of social emergence and immergence, specifically processes of ‘normative’ self-regulation in computer mediated environments. This is being explored empirically through research into editor behaviours in Wikipedia and through social simulation (some of this is examined in ‘Social Self Regulation in On-line Communities: The Case of Wikipedia’, forthcoming).In my private practice (mainly in New Zealand and Australia) I am also involved with research into educational transformation and organizational innovation. The education work has three facets, understanding aspects of organisational culture which impact on the effectiveness of change initiatives in the school sector (see ‘Transforming Education: Evidential Support for a Complex Systems Approach’; rethinking leadership as a distributed phenomena and; understanding how educators epistemic assumptions influence the way in which they orchestrate learning environments and the impact this has on learners, including learning outcomes and consequences for learner identity and emotional wellbeing. The innovation work is concerned with how individual and collective sense-making (revealed through the patterns of linguistic interaction and individual and collective construal) influences the formation of social domains which either help or hinder the organisations strategic intent and/or capacity for innovation.

Albert A. Johnstone

Oregon, USA

Albert A. Johnstone is a retired professor of philosophy living on the Oregon coast. He has authored numerous articles and papers in epistemology (skepticism, warrant, explanation), in logic (Gödel’s Theorem), and philosophy of mind (rationality, the self, imagistic and non-linguistic thinking). He is also the author of the book, Rationalized Epistemology: Taking Solipsism Seriously (SUNY, 1991). He has been working for a number of years now on a book titled The Pan-Cultural Human, which takes a Husserlian phenomenological approach to answering the question of what one is qua human being, and four chapters of which are devoted to the emotions.

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