Enactive Ethics: Difference Becoming Participation

Topoi 41 (2):241-256 (2021)
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Abstract

Enactive cognitive science combines questions in epistemology, ontology, and ethics by conceiving of bodies as open-ended and mutually transforming through activity. While enaction is not a theory of ethics, it can contribute to its foundations. We present a schematization of enactive ideas that underlie traditional distinctions between Being, Knowing, and Doing. Ethics in this scheme begins in the relation between knowing and becoming. Critical of dichotomous thinking, we approach the questions of alterity and ethical reality. Alterity is relevant to the enactive approach, but not in the radical sense of transcendental arguments. We propose difference, instead, as a more generative concept. Following Simondon, we see norms and values manifest in webs of past and future acts together with their potentialities for becoming. We propose a transindividual concept of moral attunement that includes ethical know-how and consciousness raising. Through generative difference and attunement to configurations of becoming, enaction underpins an ethics of participation linking virtue ethics and ethics of care.

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Author Profiles

Ezequiel Di Paolo
University of the Basque Country
Hanne De Jaegher
University of Sussex