SAAP Annual Meeting 2013

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Saving the Notion of Representation: Some New Pragmatic Perspectives on the Troublesome Old Term

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Roman Madzia
Masaryk University
Czech Republic

Abstract:
The paper examines views on the nature of cognition by George H. Mead and John Dewey in relation to recent theories and trends in cognitive science such as the extended cognition theory. The paper reconstructs Dewey’s and Mead’s main arguments about the nature of cognition, which (in short) state that cognition is not a matter of creating inner mental representations of the world but rather of creating embodied strategies (habits, attitudes) of negotiating that world directly in action. Next, the author shows how these ideas find an explicit vindication and empirical support within recent research in cognitive science. As a result, in connection to theories of certain philosophers of cognitive science such as Andy Clark, Mark Rowlands and others, the author argues that rather than dismissing the notion of representation altogether, pragmatists should consider its redefinition in terms of practical bodily action.

 

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