Extended functionalism, radical enactivism, and the autopoietic theory of cognition: prospects for a full revolution in cognitive science

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (4):719-739 (2018)
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Recently, Michael Wheeler has argued that despite its sometimes revolutionary rhetoric, the so called 4E cognitive movement, even in the guise of ‘radical’ enactivism, cannot achieve a full revolution in cognitive science. A full revolution would require the rejection of two essential tenets of traditional cognitive science, namely internalism and representationalism. Whilst REC might secure antirepresentationalism, it cannot do the same, so Wheeler argues, with externalism. In this paper, expanding on Wheeler’s analysis, we argue that what compromises REC’s externalism is the persistence of cognitively relevant asymmetries between its purported cognitive systems and the environment. Complementarily, we argue that an antirepresentationalist ancestor of enactivism, the autopoietic theory of cognition, is able to deliver and secure externalism, thus offering the explosive combination that Wheeler claims us needed for a revolution in cognitive science.



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Author Profiles

Mario Villalobos
University of Edinburgh
David Silverman
Université Paris Descartes

References found in this work

The extended mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
The Bounds of Cognition.Frederick Adams & Kenneth Aizawa - 2008 - Malden, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by Kenneth Aizawa.
Challenges to the hypothesis of extended cognition.Robert D. Rupert - 2004 - Journal of Philosophy 101 (8):389-428.

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