, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 389-405

Knowing What? Radical Versus Conservative Enactivism

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Abstact

The binary divide between traditional cognitivist and enactivist paradigms is tied to their respective commitments to understanding cognition as based on knowing that as opposed to knowing how. Using O'Regan's and Noë's landmark sensorimotor contingency theory of perceptual experience as a foil, I demonstrate how easy it is to fall into conservative thinking. Although their account is advertised as decidedly ‘skill-based’, on close inspection it shows itself to be riddled with suppositions threatening to reduce it to a rules-and-representations approach. To remain properly enactivist it must be purged of such commitments and indeed all commitment to mediating knowledge: it must embrace a more radical enactivism