Volume 1 · Number 2 · Pages 73–82
Enactive Cognitive Science. Part 2: Methods, Insights, and Potential

Kevin McGee

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Purpose: This, the second part of a two-part paper, describes how the concerns of enactive cognitive science have been realized in actual research: methodological issues, proposed explanatory mechanisms and models, some of the potential as both a theoretical and applied science, and several of the major open research questions. Findings: Despite some skepticism about “mechanisms” in constructivist literature, enactive cognitive science attempts to develop cognitive formalisms and models. Such techniques as feedback loops, self-organization, autocatalytic networks, and dynamical systems modeling are used to develop alternatives to cognitivist models. A number of technical similarities are starting to emerge in the different models being proposed. Research Implications: The need to resolve the interplay between autonomy and coupling with the environment suggests the need for further technical research. And the reintroduction of first-person concerns into cognitive science raises some questions of method, particularly with regard to the relationship between first-person experience, neuroscience, and methods of description, analysis, and explanation. Results to date suggest that insights from enactive cognitive science could lead to innovations in the design of artifacts.

Key words: embodiment, mechanisms, dynamical systems modeling, purposive systems, autonomy, coupling, intersubjectivity, morphogenesis, neurophenomenology


McGee K. (2006) Enactive cognitive science. Part 2: Methods, insights, and potential. Constructivist Foundations 1(2): 73–82. http://constructivist.info/1/2/073

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