Friday, November 04, 2011
Scientific American on embodied cognition.
[T]o understand reason we must understand the details of our visual system, our motor system, and the general mechanism of neural binding.

What exactly does this mean? It means that our cognition isn’t confined to our cortices. That is, our cognition is influenced, perhaps determined by, our experiences in the physical world. This is why we say that something is “over our heads” to express the idea that we do not understand; we are drawing upon the physical inability to not see something over our heads and the mental feeling of uncertainty. Or why we understand warmth with affection; as infants and children the subjective judgment of affection almost always corresponded with the sensation of warmth, thus giving way to metaphors such as “I’m warming up to her.”

Embodied cognition has a relatively short history. Its intellectual roots date back to early 20th century philosophers Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and John Dewey and it has only been studied empirically in the last few decades.

The Dasein of typos, Enk.

Cog.sci. does notl ack for a certain interest but it's more interesting that the high-powered Ivy League/UC cog.sci researchers have not progressed very far. They may correlate cortical areas with various brain functions--vision seems to happen here; syntax here--but that's about it. There is some new software--cranial ware (neuro-kinetics IIRC--perhaps yve heard of it)--that has upped the ante a bit: ie they implant a sort of RJ-45 in the back of your head (usually handicapped peeps) and the person can, merely by thinking, turn on the lights, TV, ring a doorbell,etc. Perhaps that wouldn't impress Johnny Searle, but it's at least a stiff jab to the ...ghost in the machine ( Ghost's resilient-- the aged Popper gave up on his earlier Humean-Darwinian views and was quite convinced in a Res Cogitans).
I read the original post and would have made my comment there except they have no access for guests.

The argument re: metaphor interests me, although the illustrations offered were unconvincing. I am not willing to wade into the book cited.

I wonder what, if any, the consequences might be for the concept of "consciousness," which goes unmentioned in the post. Is it still useful in some philosophy of mind sense? From my less than thorough study of Merleau-Ponty I have the expectation that the term is almost useless if not a menacing distraction.

Yet as with "sunrise" and "sunset," for instance, "consciousness" is used as if we all knew what we are talking about.
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