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Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 95–133 | Cite as

Hume and the enactive approach to mind

  • Tom FroeseEmail author
Article

Abstract

An important part of David Hume’s work is his attempt to put the natural sciences on a firmer foundation by introducing the scientific method into the study of human nature. This investigation resulted in a novel understanding of the mind, which in turn informed Hume’s critical evaluation of the scope and limits of the scientific method as such. However, while these latter reflections continue to influence today’s philosophy of science, his theory of mind is nowadays mainly of interest in terms of philosophical scholarship. This paper aims to show that, even though Hume’s recognition in the cognitive sciences has so far been limited, there is an opportunity to reevaluate his work in the context of more recent scientific developments. In particular, it is argued that we can gain a better understanding of his overall philosophy by tracing the ongoing establishment of the enactive approach. In return, this novel interpretation of Hume’s ‘science of man’ is used as the basis for a consideration of the current and future status of the cognitive sciences.

Keywords

Enactivism Hume Phenomenology Life Mind Enactive Cognitive science Human nature 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Mike Beaton, Ezequiel Di Paolo, Joel Parthemore, Tom Ziemke, Charles Wolfe and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Much of this paper was written during a stay in 2007 at the University of Skövde funded by the euCognition network (www.eucognition.org), as part of the European Cognitive Systems initiative.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics (CCNR), Centre for Research in Cognitive Science (COGS), Department of InformaticsUniversity of SussexFalmerUK

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