Volume 17 · Number 2 · Pages 173–178
Book Author’s Response: Continuity, not Conservatism: Why We Can Be Existential and Enactive

Sanneke de Haan

Log in to download the full text for free

> Citation > Similar > References > Add Comment


Abstract: García’s and Oblak’s reviews of my book Enactive Psychiatry open up some fundamental debates with regard to my use of the term “enactive” for the kind of approach that I develop. Is my account still properly “enactive” (García) and how does my approach compare to the extended mind theory on the one hand and to constructivism on the other hand (Oblak? In this response, I argue that (a) adding an existential dimension to enactivism is necessary to do justice to our way of being in the world and our specific sense-making and its problems; and (b) that this dimension can be incorporated within enactivism without giving up on either enactivism’s commitment to naturalism or the enactive life-mind continuity thesis. My “existentialized” enactivism is very much enactive in that it adopts the thoroughly relational perspective that forms the core of enactivism. This relational perspective is also what distinguishes enactive theory from both extended mind theory and constructivism.

Erratum: In §1, the name of the first commentator is misspelled: Her name is “Enara García” rather than “Elena García.”


de Haan S. (2022) Book author’s response: Continuity, not conservatism: Why we can be existential and enactive. Constructivist Foundations 17(2): 173–178. https://constructivist.info/17/2/173

Export article citation data: Plain Text · BibTex · EndNote · Reference Manager (RIS)


Bateson G. (2010) Form, substance and difference. In: Favareau D. (ed.) Essential readings in biosemiotics. Springer, Dordrecht: 501–518. Originally published in 1970. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Bruineberg J. (2021) Review of Sanneke de Haan, Enactive Psychiatry, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, Online first. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Coninx S. & Stilwell P. (2021) Pain and the field of affordances: An enactive approach to acute and chronic pain. Synthese 199: 7835–7863. https://cepa.info/7632
de Haan S. (2021) Two enactive approaches to psychiatry: Two contrasting views on what it means to be human. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology 28(3): 191–196. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
de Haan S., De Jaegher H., Fuchs T. & Mayer A. (2011) Expanding perspectives: The interactive development of perspective-taking in early childhood. In: Tschacher W. & Bergomi C. (eds.) The implications of embodiment: Cognition and communication. Imprint Academic, Exeter: 129–150. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
De Jaegher H. & Di Paolo E. (2007) Participatory sense-making: An enactive approach to social cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6(4): 485–507. https://cepa.info/2387
de Waal F. B. & Thompson E. (2005) Primates, monks and the mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12(7): 38–54. https://cepa.info/2360
Dennett D. C. (2003) Who’s on first? Heterophenomenology explained. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10(9–10): 19–30. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Di Paolo E. (2009) Extended Life. Topoi 28(1): 9–21. https://cepa.info/322
Di Paolo E. A., Cuffari E. C. & De Jaegher H. (2018) Linguistic bodies: The continuity between life and language. MIT Press, Cambridge MA. Reviewed in. https://constructivist.info/15/2/194
Dreyfus H. & Taylor C. (2015) Retrieving realism. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Fausto-Sterling A. (2005) The bare bones of sex: Part I – Sex and gender. Signs 30(2): 1491–1527. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Gallup G. G. (1977) Self recognition in primates: A comparative approach to the bidirectional properties of consciousness. American Psychologist 32(5): 329–338. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Heidegger M. (1978) Being and time. Malden, Blackwell Publishing. German original published in 1927. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Jonas H. (2001) The phenomenon of life: Toward a philosophical biology. Northwestern University Press, Evanston IL. Originally published in 1966. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Merleau-Ponty M. (1963) The structure of behavior. Beacon Press, Boston. French original published in 1942. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Nielsen K. (2021) Comparing two enactive perspectives on mental disorder. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology 28(3): 175–185. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Preston S. D. & de Waal F. B. M. (2002) Empathy: Its ultimate and proximate bases. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25(1): 1–20. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Thompson E. (2007) Mind in life: Biology, phenomenology, and the sciences of mind. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA. Reviewed in. https://constructivist.info/3/2/117
Uexküll J. von & Kriszat G. (1956) Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen. Rowohlt, Reinbek. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Wittgenstein L. (1958) Philosophical investigations. Translated by G. E. M. Anscombe. Oxford, Blackwell. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Zahidi K. & Myin E. (2016) Radically enactive numerical cognition. In: Etzelmüller G. & Twews C. (eds.) Embodiment in evolution and culture. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen: 57–71. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

Comments: 0

To stay informed about comments to this publication and post comments yourself, please log in first.