Empirical and Phenomenological Studies of Embodied Cognition

  • David Morris


The first grand wave of twentieth century cognitive science and philosophy of mind sought and still seeks to show how, contra Cartesian dualism, cognition is materialized in the brain. A new wave is rising from this, though, one that studies cognition not merely as “embrained” (Damasio 2000, 118; Collins 2000) but as embodied in a much stronger sense, as inseparable from and shaped by the concrete extra-cerebral structures and dynamics of the body, and the body’s embeddedness in the natural and social world. This wave is gathering momentum. Whereas a decade ago researchers needed to protest that cognition is in fact strongly embodied, one can now find studies that leap right to the problem of how and in what sense it is so. This is a telltale sign of a nascent paradigm shift. Yet, in studying this new wave one finds that philosophy and science are still - for reasons recently remarked (see Dreyfus 2007; Gallagher 2007) and soon discussed - at sea for lack of conceptual frameworks to bring embodied cognition back to firm land. Brooks, whose robotics research is part of the new wave, puts it succinctly: “perhaps at this point we simply do not get it, and there is some fundamental change necessary in our thinking.” (1991; cited in Dreyfus 2007, 251)


Perceptual Cognition Cognitive Work Cartesian Dualism Telltale Sign Representational Relation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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