Befuddling the mind: radical Enactivism (Hutto-Myin style) and the metaphysics of experience

  • Itay ShaniEmail author


This paper is a critique of the radical enactivism of Daniel Hutto, Erik Myin, and their collaborators, insofar as their approach pertains to the hard problem of consciousness. I argue that their valiant attempt to discard the hard problem is ultimately unsuccessful. More specifically, I argue that the hard problem of consciousness is best construed as a transcendental challenge and that no phenomeno-physical identity theory (however embodied and situated), and no “logic of identity”, successfully eliminate this challenge. Finally, I argue that the theoretical stance adopted by Hutto, Myin, and their colleagues is inherently unstable in that it inadvertently blends strong deflationary currents with an implicit commitment to substantive metaphysical revisionism. Since deflationism and revisionism are discordant partners their forced union results in a position whose overall coherence is compromised. Such disequilibrium, I believe, is a general characteristic of radical enactivist approaches to consciousness, of which the position discussed on the present occasion is one prominent representative.


Deflationism Hard problem Metaphysical revisionism Non-reductive identity Radical enactivism Transcendental argument 



An early version of the paper was presented at the Third International Conference on Natural Cognition: Experience, Concepts, and Agency, hosted by the Philosophy and Religious Studies Program at the University of Macau (November 20-21, 2018); as well as at the Workshop on Philosophical Psychology in Shandong University, Jinan, China (December 22, 2018). I thank Nevia Dolcini (Macau), Ivan Ivanov (Shandong), and the participants and audiences in these events. In addition, I wish to thank two anonymous referees for this journal for their rigorous and helpful comments and for their fair and good spirited attitude.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySun Yat Sen UniversityZhuhaiPeople’s Republic of China

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