Cognitive Science Today, What is it to You?

Journal of Consciousness Studies 30 (11):214-237 (2023)
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Abstract

In a paper from the late 1990s, Francisco Varela indicates that a science of inter-being is on the horizon. But how to envisage such a science? Here I propose that an enactive science of inter-being will benefit from engaging with recent innovative autism research that starts from autistic experience and intersubjectivity. Properly intersubjective autism research is both more ethically just and scientifically richer than cognitivist explanations that have dominated research, discourse, and practice for a long time, and which have tended to set people apart more than connect them. I discuss the work of Bervoets and Hens (2020), who show how autism research is unavoidably theorethical, and must be in order to move past the catch-22 they identify between autism and dysfunction. This kind of research exemplifies a participatory sense-making between subjects and scientists, and it is here that 'steps to a science of inter-being' (Varela, 1999a) are being taken.

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Hanne De Jaegher
University of Sussex

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References found in this work

Participatory sense-making: An enactive approach to social cognition.Hanne De Jaegher & Ezequiel Di Paolo - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (4):485-507.
Loving and knowing: reflections for an engaged epistemology.Hanne De Jaegher - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20 (5):847-870.
Enactive becoming.Ezequiel A. Di Paolo - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20 (5):783-809.

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