Evolution, embodiment and the nature of the mind

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Abstract

In: B. Hardy-Vallee & N. Payette, eds. Beyond the brain: embodied, situated & distributed cognition. (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar’s Press), in press. Abstract: In this article, I do three main things: 1. First, I introduce an approach to the mind motivated primarily by evolutionary considerations. I do that by laying out four principles for the study of the mind from an evolutionary perspective, and four predictions that they suggest. This evolutionary perspective is completely compatible with, although broader than, the embodied cognition approach. 2. Then I look at one prediction in depth, the idea that the brain evolved by exaptation–reusing exiting functional units, and combining them in novel ways to generate new cognitive capacities. 3. Finally, I try to lay out some of the implications, both of the in-depth example, and of the more general approach.

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