The temporality of intentions and actions in situations of social interaction can sometimes be paradoxical. I argue that in these situations it may sometimes be possible to conceive of individual acts that can, in a strong sense, be intended retroactively. This could happen when the relational patterns in social interaction literally alter the virtual structure of a participant's past corporeal intentions resulting in an odd experience of having intended something all along without knowing it. I propose that this possibility should (...) be interpreted as more than just a narrowly epistemic phenomenon. Examining this claim involves clarifying the enactive perspective on intentionality, which I do here. The enactive approach rejects the model of a causal relation between intention and action for one of an intrinsic qualitative relation between the two as facets of sense-making. I develop this idea and compare it with Merleau-Ponty's Fundierung model of the mutual relation between corporeal and reflexive intentionality to show that co-regulated moves/affections during social interaction may modulate both arcs of this relation, creating the possibility of a re-signification that alters not the actuality but the virtual tendencies that preceded the social act. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Perception-Action Mutuality Obviates Mental Construction” by Martin Flament Fultot, Lin Nie & Claudia Carello. Upshot: I contrast enactivist and ecological perspectives on some of the themes raised by the authors. I discuss some of their worries about the notion of sense-making and other epistemological aspects of enactivism.
Open peer commentary on the target article “Who Conceives of Society?” by Ernst von Glasersfeld. Excerpt: While von Glasersfeld’s “epistemological model involves consciousness, memory, and some basic values” (§47), our argument from an enactive perspective is that these axiomatic elements are not atomic and already imply the participation of those social processes they intend to ground and that this fundamental intervention happens before these processes are constituted as knowable by the individual mind they shape.
Nel 2011 sono mancati Paolo Lucentini e Alfonso Maierù. Nel ricordarne la vicenda umana e professionale come ricercatori e come docenti, questo articolo intende mettere in luce in particolare il contributo che essi hanno dato alla Storia del pensiero medievale accompagnando gli studi dottrinali con importanti edizioni di testi inediti. Paolo Lucentini and Alfonso Maierù passed away in 2011. This article, in remembrance of their personal and professional roles as researchers and teachers, will highlight the contributions that they (...) made to the history of medieval thought, showing how they combined doctrinal studies with important editions of unedited texts. (shrink)
The concept of agency is of crucial importance in cognitive science and artificial intelligence, and it is often used as an intuitive and rather uncontroversial term, in contrast to more abstract and theoretically heavy-weighted terms like “intentionality”, “rationality” or “mind”. However, most of the available definitions of agency are either too loose or unspecific to allow for a progressive scientific program. They implicitly and unproblematically assume the features that characterize agents, thus obscuring the full potential and challenge of modeling agency. (...) We identify three conditions that a system must meet in order to be considered as a genuine agent: a) a system must define its own individuality, b) it must be the active source of activity in its environment (interactionalasymmetry) and c) it must regulate this activity in relation to certain norms (normativity). We find that even minimal forms of proto-celular systems can already provide a paradigmatic example of genuine agency. By abstracting away some specific details of minimal models of living agency we define the kind of organization that is capable to meet the required conditions for agency (which is not restricted to living organisms). On this basis, we define agency as an autonomous organization that adaptively regulates its coupling with its environment and contributes to sustaining itself as a consequence. We find that spatiality and temporality are the two fundamental domains in which agency spans at different scales. We conclude by giving an outlook to the road that lies ahead in the pursuit to understand, model and synthesis agents. (shrink)
Social factors have so far been neglected in embodied theories of perception despite the wealth of phenomenological insights and empirical evidence indicating their importance. I examine evidence from developmental psychology and neuroscience and attempt an initial classification according to whether social factors play a contextual, enabling, or constitutive role in the ability to perceive objects in a detached manner, i.e. beyond their immediate instrumental use. While evidence of cross-cultural variations in perceptual styles and the influence of social cues on visual (...) attention could not be said to play more than a contextual role, other factors such as the intricate developmental links between dyadic and triadic interactions in infancy, as well as episodes of peer-learning in children, play enabling roles. A common element in these factors is the presence and resolution of interpersonal conflict. Detached object perception could not develop without these social factors. I argue, in addition, that social skills such as managing partial social acts which are addressed to and completed by others, linguistic mediation, makebelieve play, and the ability to control perspectival switches are constitutive -- i.e. are of the essence -- of the ability to see objects as present with a detached attitude. I discuss the prospects of incorporating such social elements into dynamical interpretations of the sensorimotor approach through the enactive notion of participatory sense-making. (shrink)
This book presents the framework for a new, comprehensive approach to cognitive science. The proposed paradigm, enaction, offers an alternative to cognitive science's classical, first-generation Computational Theory of Mind. _Enaction_, first articulated by Varela, Thompson, and Rosch in _The Embodied Mind_, breaks from CTM's formalisms of information processing and symbolic representations to view cognition as grounded in the sensorimotor dynamics of the interactions between a living organism and its environment. A living organism enacts the world it lives in; its embodied (...) action in the world constitutes its perception and thereby grounds its cognition. _Enaction_ offers a range of perspectives on this exciting new approach to embodied cognitive science. Some chapters offer manifestos for the enaction paradigm; others address specific areas of research, including artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, neuroscience, language, phenomenology, and culture and cognition. Three themes emerge as testimony to the originality and specificity of enaction as a paradigm: the relation between first-person lived experience and third-person natural science; the ambition to provide an encompassing framework applicable at levels from the cell to society; and the difficulties of reflexivity. Taken together, the chapters offer nothing less than the framework for a far-reaching renewal of cognitive science. Contributors: Renaud Barbaras, Didier Bottineau, Giovanna Colombetti, Diego Cosmelli, Hanne De Jaegher, Ezequiel A. Di Paolo. Andreas K. Engel, Olivier Gapenne, Véronique Havelange, Edwin Hutchins, Michel Le Van Quyen, Rafael E. Núñez, Marieke Rohde, Benny Shanon, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, Adam Sheya, Linda B. Smith, John Stewart, Evan Thompson. (shrink)
The article is the consequence of some critical notes to the contribution of Paolo Bellan, arising from reading of essays of Francesco Emmolo and Carlo Sini and the assumption of a purely phenomenological perspective in the interpretation of the processes of acquisition of scientific knowledge.
The performative turn in aesthetics is paralleled by a similar transformation in the epistemology of geography with the rise of the so-called non-representational theory. This paper focuses on the connection between non-representational geography and the morphological approaches to landscape elaborated by Humboldt in the XIX century and Carl Sauer in the XX century. At stake there is the possibility to establish a virtuous relationship between aesthetics and geographical knowledge, which have often been separated despite their indisputable kinships and liaison points.
In 2017, Italy passed a law that provides for a systematic discipline on informed consent, advance directives, and advance care planning. It ranges from decisions contextual to clinical necessity through the tool of consent/refusal to decisions anticipating future events through the tools of shared care planning and advance directives. Nothing is said in the law regarding the issue of physician assisted suicide. Following the DJ Fabo case, the Italian Constitutional Court declared the constitutional illegitimacy of article 580 of the criminal (...) code in the part in which it does not exclude the punishment of those who facilitate the suicide when the decision has been freely and autonomously made by a person kept alive by life-support treatments and suffering from an irreversible pathology, the source of physical or psychological suffering that he/she considers intolerable, but fully capable of making free and conscious decisions. Such conditions and methods of execution must be verified by a public structure of the national health service, after consulting the territorially competent ethics committee. This statement admits, within strict and regulated bounds, physician assisted suicide, so widening the range of end-of-life decisions for Italian patients. Future application and critical topics will be called into question by the Italian legislator. (shrink)
Paolo Bozzi developed his «experimental phenomenology» from the Gestalt psychology tradition, particularly from Gaetano Kanizsa’s method. The distinction between «phenomenal description» and «causal explanation» of the «perception» springs up from the analysis of Bozzi’s «S-D psychophysical scheme». What Frege, who was well-known by Bozzi, deals with in paragraph 71 of The Thought theoretically mirrors what is outlined in the Scheme and could also be intended as its source. The juxtaposition between a «science of observable things» or «experimental phenomenology» – (...) conceived as a science which is autonomous from what happens in the brain – and logics, which is set up autonomously from the thinking processes, is a programmatic element that is openly indicated by the author. Frege’s anti-psychologism and realism are both widely shared by Bozzi. The realism and the «naïve physics» Bozzi was a pioneer of lie at the basis of the so-called «New Realism». The following essay aims to localize and highlight some theoretical implications – up to their phenomenological origins – which can be detected particularly in paragraph 71 of The Thought. The present work tries to sketch out the boundaries and the autonomy of the «first person» perceptive experience and to define the scientific explanation that we can give of it. The distinction between science and experience, and the autonomy of experience from science and of the immediate experience of the content of consciousness from neuroscience, entail the impossibility of a naturalization of the phenomenological experience. In the examples taken from Frege can be found a theoretical bridge which connects the Gestalt perceptological tradition, Wittgenstein’s investigations of the philosophy of psychology, and the so called «New Realism». (shrink)