Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 241–263 | Cite as

Situated Cognition: A Field Guide to Some Open Conceptual and Ontological Issues

  • Sven Walter


This paper provides an overview over the debate about so-called “situated approaches to cognition” that depart from the intracranialism associated with traditional cognitivism insofar as they stress the importance of body, world, and interaction for cognitive processing. It sketches the outlines of an overarching framework that reveals the differences, commonalities, and interdependencies between the various claims and positions of second-generation cognitive science, and identifies a number of apparently unresolved conceptual and ontological issues.


Cognitive Process Cognitive Processing Ontological Commitment Situate Cognition Causal Dependence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Adams, F., and K. Aizawa. 2001. The bounds of cognition. Philosophical Psychology 14: 43–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, F., and K. Aizawa. 2008. The bounds of cognition. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  3. Adams, F., and K. Aizawa. 2010. Why the mind is still in the head. In Extended cognition, ed. R. Menary, 67–80. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Aizawa, K. 2010. The coupling-constitution fallacy revisited. Cognitive Systems Research 11: 332–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alsmith, A., and F. de Vignemont. 2012. Embodying the mind and representing the body. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3: 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Anderson, M. 2007. Massive redeployment, exaptation, and the functional integration of cognitive operations. Synthese 159: 329–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ballard, D., M. Hayhoe, P. Pook, and R. Rao. 1997. Deictic codes for the embodiment of cognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20: 723–767.Google Scholar
  8. Barker, M. 2010. From cognition’s location to the epistemology of its nature. Cognitive Systems Research 11: 357–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barnier, A., J. Sutton, C. Harris, and R. Wilson. 2008. A conceptual and empirical framework for the social distribution of cognition. Cognitive Systems Research 9: 33–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barrett, L. 2011. Beyond the brain. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Borghi, A., C. Scorolli, D. Caligiore, G. Baldassarre, and L. Tummolini. 2013. The embodied mind extended. Frontiers in Psychology 4(214): 1–10.Google Scholar
  12. Brooks, R. 1991. Intelligence without representation. Artificial Intelligence 47: 139–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chandrasekharan, S., and N. Nersessian. 2011. Building cognition: the construction of external representations for discovery. Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society 33: 267–272.Google Scholar
  14. Chatterjee, A. 2010. Disembodying cognition. Language and Cognition 2: 79–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chemero, A. 2009. Radical embodied cognitive science. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. Clark, A. 2008a. Pressing the flesh: a tension in the study of the embodied, embedded mind? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76: 37–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clark, A. 2008b. Supersizing the mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Clark, A., and D. Chalmers. 1998. The extended mind. Analysis 58: 7–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Colombetti, G. 2013. The feeling body: affective science meets the enactive mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Cowley, S., and F. Vallée-Tourangeau. 2013. Cognition beyond the brain. London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Craver, C. 2007. Explaining the brain. Oxford: Clarendon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Davis, J., A. Benforado, E. Esrock, A. Turner, R. Dalton, L. van Noorden, and M. Leman. 2012. Four applications of embodied cognition. Topics in Cognitive Science 4: 786–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dehaene, S. 2009. Reading in the brain. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  24. De Jaegher, H., and E. Di Paolo. 2007. Participatory sense-making: an enactive approach to social cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6: 485–507.Google Scholar
  25. De Jaegher, H., E. Di Paolo, and S. Gallagher. 2010. Can social interaction constitute social cognition? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14: 441–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dempsey, L., and I. Shani. 2012. Stressing the flesh: in defense of strong embodiment. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86: 590–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dennett, D. 2000. Making tools for thinking. In Metarepresentations, ed. D. Sperber, 17–30. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Di Paolo, E. 2009. Extended life. Topoi 28: 9–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Di Paolo, E., M. Rohde, and H. De Jaegher. 2010. Horizons for the enactive mind. In Enaction, ed. J. Stewart, O. Gapenne, and E. Di Paolo, 33–88. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  30. Dodig-Crnkovic, G., and R. Giovagnoli. 2013. Computing nature. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fodor, J. 1975. The language of thought. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  32. Fodor, J. 1983. The modularity of mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Gallese, V. 2008. Mirror neurons and the social nature of language. Social Neuroscience 3: 317–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gibson, J. 1979. The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  35. Goldin-Meadow, S. 1999. The role of gesture in communication and thinking. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3: 9–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Goldin-Meadow, S., and S. Wagner. 2005. How our hands help us learn. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9: 234–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Goldman, A. 2013. A moderate approach to embodied cognitive science. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3: 71–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Goldman, A., and F. de Vignemont. 2009. Is social cognition embodied? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13: 154–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Haugeland, J. 1995. Mind embodied and embedded. Acta Philosophica Fennica 58: 233–267.Google Scholar
  40. Heath, J., and J. Anderson. 2010. Procrastination and the extended will. In The thief of time, ed. C. Andreou and M. White, 233–252. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hurley, S. 2001. Perception and action: alternative views. Synthese 129: 3–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hurley, S. 2008. The shared circuits model. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31: 1–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hutchins, E. 1995. Cognition in the wild. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  44. Hutchins, E. 2014. Human cognition: culturally pervasive, not extended. Philosophical Psychology. doi: 10.1080/09515089.2013.830548.
  45. Hutto, D., and E. Myin. 2013. Radicalizing enactivism. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  46. Kirsh, D., and P. Maglio. 1994. On distinguishing epistemic from pragmatic action. Cognitive Science 18: 513–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kiverstein, J., and A. Clark. 2009. Introduction: mind embodied, embedded, enacted. Topoi 28: 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lakoff, G., and M. Johnson. 1999. Philosophy in the flesh. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  49. Logan, R. 2007. The extended mind: the emergence of language, the human mind, and culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  50. Lutz, A., and E. Thompson. 2003. Neurophenomenology. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10(9–10): 31–52.Google Scholar
  51. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945/2012). Phenomenology of perception. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  52. Meteyard, L., S. Cuadrado, B. Bahrami, and G. Vigliocco. 2012. Coming of age: a review of embodiment and the neuroscience of semantics. Cortex 48: 788–807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Milkowski, M. 2013. Explaining the computational mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  54. Müller-Schloer, C., H. Schmeck, and T. Ungerer. 2011. Organic computing. Basel: Birkhäuser.Google Scholar
  55. Noë, A. 2004. Action in perception. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  56. Pfeifer, R., and J. Bongard. 2007. How the body shapes the way we think. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  57. Piccinini, G. 2008. Computation without representation. Philosophical Studies 137: 205–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Piccinini, G. 2012. Computationalism. In The Oxford handbook of philosophy of cognitive science, ed. R. Samuels, E. Margolis, and S. Stich, 222–249. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Prinz, J. 2009. Is consciousness embodied? In The Cambridge handbook of situated cognition, ed. P. Robbins and M. Aydede, 419–437. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Robbins, P., and M. Aydede. 2009. The Cambridge handbook of situated cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Rohde, M. 2010. Enaction, embodiment, evolutionary robotics. Amsterdam: Atlantis Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rowlands, M. 2009a. Enactivism and the extended mind. Topoi 28: 53–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rowlands, M. 2009b. Extended cognition and the mark of the cognitive. Philosophical Psychology 22: 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rowlands, M. 2010. The new science of the mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rupert, R. 2004. Challenges to the hypothesis of extended cognition. Journal of Philosophy 101: 389–428.Google Scholar
  66. Rupert, R. 2009. Cognitive systems and the extended mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Scherer, K. 2005. What are emotions? and how can they be measured? Social Science Information 44: 695–729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Schulz, A. 2013. Overextension: the extended mind and arguments from evolutionary biology. European Journal for the Philosophy of Science 3: 241–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Shapiro, L. 2004. The mind incarnate. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  70. Shapiro, L. 2010. James Bond and the barking dog: evolution and extended cognition. Philosophy of Science 77: 400–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Shapiro, L. 2011. Embodied cognition. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  72. Shapiro, L. 2012. Embodied cognition. In The Oxford handbook of philosophy of cognitive science, ed. R. Samuels, E. Margolis, and S. Stich, 118–146. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Shapiro, L. 2013. When is cognition embodied? In U. Kriegel (Ed.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Mind (pp. 73–90). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  74. Sprevak, M. 2010. Inference to the hypothesis of extended cognition. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 41: 353–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Stapleton, M. 2013. Steps to a “Properly Embodied” cognitive science. Cognitive Systems Research 22–23: 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sterelny, K. 2010. Minds: extended or scaffolded? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9: 465–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Stewart, J., O. Gapenne, and E. Di Paolo. 2010. Enaction. Cambridge: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Thelen, E., G. Schöner, C. Scheier, and L. Smith. 2001. The dynamics of embodiment. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: 1–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Thelen, E., and L. Smith. 1994. A dynamic systems approach to the development of cognition and action. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  80. Thompson, E., and M. Stapleton. 2009. Making sense of sense-making. Topoi 28: 23–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Thompson, E., and F. Varela. 2001. Radical embodiment. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5: 418–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Torrance, S. 2005. In search of the enactive. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4: 357–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. van Gelder, T. 1995. What might cognition be, if not computation? Journal of Philosophy 91: 345–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. van Gelder, T. 1998. The dynamical hypothesis in cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21: 615–628.Google Scholar
  85. Varela, F., E. Thompson, and E. Rosch. 1991. The embodied mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  86. Walter, S. 2010. Locked-in syndrome, BCI, and a confusion about embodied, embedded, extended, and enacted cognition. Neuroethics 3: 61–72.Google Scholar
  87. Walter, S., and L. Kästner. 2012. The where and what of cognition: The untenability of cognitive agnosticism and the motley crew argument. Cognitive Systems Research 13: 12–23.Google Scholar
  88. Ward, D., and M. Stapleton. 2012. Es are good: Cognition as enacted, embodied, embedded, affective and extended. In Consciousness in interaction, ed. F. Paglieri and C. Castelfranchi, 89–104. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  89. Wehner, R., and M. Müller. 2006. The significance of direct sunlight and polarized skylight in the ant’s celestial system of navigation. Proccedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103: 12575–12579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Weiskopf, D. 2008. Patrolling the mind’s boundaries. Erkenntnis 68: 265–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Wheeler, M. 2005. Reconstructing the cognitive world. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  92. Wheeler, M. 2010. Minds, things, and materiality. In The cognitive life of things, ed. L. Malafouris and C. Renfrew, 29–38. Cambridge: McDonald Institute Monographs.Google Scholar
  93. Wheeler, M. 2011. Embodied cognition and the extended mind. In The continuum companion to the philosophy of mind, ed. J. Garvey, 220–238. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  94. Wilson, A., and S. Golonka. 2013. Embodied cognition is not what you think it is. Frontiers in Cognitive Science 4(58): 1–13.Google Scholar
  95. Wilson, M. 2002. Six views on embodied cognition. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 9: 625–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Wilson, R. 1994. Wide computationalism. Mind 103: 351–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Wilson, R. 2004. Boundaries of the mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  98. Wilson, R. 2005. Collective memory, group minds, and the extended mind thesis. Cognitive Processing 6: 227–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Wilson, R., and A. Clark. 2009. How to situate cognition. In The Cambridge handbook of situated cognition, ed. P. Robbins and M. Aydede, 55–77. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  100. Wilson, R., & Foglia, L. (2011). Embodied cognition. In: E. Zalta (Ed.), The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.Google Scholar
  101. Woodward, J. 2003. Making things happen. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of OsnabrückOsabrückGermany

Personalised recommendations