Volume 14 · Number 1 · Pages 1–8
Shaun Gallagher and the Sciences of the Mind: Recontextualizing “Decentered” Cognition

Nicolas Zaslawski & Mathieu Arminjon

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Context: Shaun Gallagher’s work is very influential in contemporary philosophy, especially when it comes to the mind, to philosophical issues raised by developmental psychology, and to intersubjectivity. Problem: Classical cognitivism” has been, and often still is dominating the sciences of the mind. The reasons for this dominance include being implementable on computers, being consistent with Darwinism, and being allegedly experimentally testable. However, this dominance could just as well be a historical phase as cognitivism is disconnected from biological, anthropological, and neuroscientific research. Method: We historically and epistemologically contextualize how Gallagher contributed to bringing the body and subjectivity back to the center of the sciences of the mind by focusing on two examples: theory of mind and evolutionary psychology. Results: Both contemporary epistemologists and Gallagher’s work indicate why classical cognitivism provides a flawed model of cognition, especially when it comes to its explanatory scope: embodiment, subjectivity, and intersubjectivity, among other things, are fundamentally mistreated by cognitivism. Implications: Gallagher helped to structure what Andler calls “heterodoxical” approaches to cognition by conceptualizing a unifying framework, the so-called “E-approaches.” This unification has the major implication of leading Gallagher to a model in which cognition is “decentered,” which helps tackle the philosophical issues one might encounter when narrowing down philosophy of cognition. Constructivist content: We apply E-approaches to the philosophy of cognition, psychology and social sciences.

Key words: Philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science, history of science, embodiment, E-approaches


Zaslawski N. & Arminjon M. (2018) Shaun Gallagher and the sciences of the mind: Recontextualizing “decentered” cognition. Constructivist Foundations 14(1): 1–8. http://constructivist.info/14/1/001

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