•  3973
    We present a specific elaboration and partial defense of the claims that cognition is enactive, embodied, embedded, affective and (potentially) extended. According to the view we will defend, the enactivist claim that perception and cognition essentially depend upon the cognizer’s interactions with their environment is fundamental. If a particular instance of this kind of dependence obtains, we will argue, then it follows that cognition is essentially embodied and embedded, that the underpinning…Read more
  •  261
    How do questions concerning consciousness and phenomenal experience relate to, or interface with, questions concerning plans, knowledge and intentions? At least in the case of visual experience the relation, we shall argue, is tight. Visual perceptual experience, we shall argue, is fixed by an agent’s direct unmediated knowledge concerning her poise (or apparent poise) over a currently enabled action space. An action space, in this specific sense, is to be understood not as a fine-grained matrix…Read more
  •  257
    Hurley's Transcendental Enactivism
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (5-6): 12-38. 2016.
    Susan Hurley (1998a, 2003a, 2008) argues that our capacities for perception, agency and thought are essentially interdependent and co-emerge from a tangle of sensorimotor processes that are both cause and effect of the web of interactive and communicative practices they weave us into. In this paper, I reconstruct this view and its main motivations, with a particular focus on three important aspects. First, Hurley argues that an essential aspect of conscious perception – its perspectival unity – …Read more
  •  141
    This introduction to a special issue of Topoi introduces and summarises the relationship between three main varieties of 'enactivist' theorising about the mind: 'autopoietic', 'sensorimotor', and 'radical' enactivism. It includes a brief discussion of the philosophical and cognitive scientific precursors to enactivist theories, and the relationship of enactivism to other trends in embodied cognitive science and philosophy of mind.
  •  95
    Between Perception and Action By Bence Nanay
    Analysis 75 (4): 684-686. 2015.
    A short review of Bence Nanay's 'Between Action and Perception'
  •  84
    According to a variety of recent ‘enactivist’ proposals, the material basis of conscious experience might extend beyond the boundaries of the brain and nervous system and into the environment. Clark (2009) surveys several such arguments and finds them wanting. Here I respond on behalf of the enactivist. Clarifying the commitments of enactivism at the personal and subpersonal levels and considering how those levels relate lets us see where Clark’s analysis of enactivism goes wrong. Clark understa…Read more
  •  75
    Why don’t synaesthetic colours adapt away?
    Philosophical Studies 159 (1): 123-138. 2012.
    Synaesthetes persistently perceive certain stimuli as systematically accompanied by illusory colours, even though they know those colours to be illusory. This appears to contrast with cases where a subject’s colour vision adapts to systematic distortions caused by wearing coloured goggles. Given that each case involves longstanding systematic distortion of colour perception that the subjects recognize as such, how can a theory of colour perception explain the fact that perceptual adaptation occu…Read more
  •  72
    Achieving Transparency: An Argument For Enactivism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3): 650-680. 2016.
    The transparency of perceptual experience has been invoked in support of many views about perception. I argue that it supports a form of enactivism—the view that capacities for perceptual experience and for intentional agency are essentially interdependent. I clarify the perceptual phenomenon at issue, and argue that enactivists should expect to find a parallel instance of transparency in our agentive experience, and that the two forms of transparency are constitutively interdependent. I then ar…Read more
  •  71
    Personal Identity, Agency and the Multiplicity Thesis
    Minds and Machines 21 (4): 497-515. 2011.
    I consider whether there is a plausible conception of personal identity that can accommodate the ‘Multiplicity Thesis’ (MT), the thesis that some ways of creating and deploying multiple distinct online personae can bring about the existence of multiple persons where before there was only one. I argue that an influential Kantian line of thought, according to which a person is a unified locus of rational agency, is well placed to accommodate the thesis. I set out such a line of thought as develope…Read more
  •  59
    Moving Stories: Agency, Emotion and Practical Rationality
    In Laura Candiotto (ed.), The Value of Emotions for Knowledge, Springer Verlag. pp. 145-176. 2019.
    What is it to be an agent? One influential line of thought, endorsed by G. E. M. Anscombe and David Velleman, among others, holds that agency depends on practical rationality—the ability to act for reasons, rather than being merely moved by causes. Over the past 25 years, Velleman has argued compellingly for a distinctive view of agency and the practical rationality with which he associates it. On Velleman’s conception, being an agent consists in having the capacity to be motivated by a drive to…Read more
  •  58
    Living Systems: Autonomy, Autopoiesis and Enaction
    with Mario Villalobos
    Philosophy and Technology 28 (2): 225-239. 2015.
    The autopoietic theory and the enactive approach are two theoretical streams that, in spite of their historical link and conceptual affinities, offer very different views on the nature of living beings. In this paper, we compare these views and evaluate, in an exploratory way, their respective degrees of internal coherence. Focusing the analyses on certain key notions such as autonomy and organizational closure, we argue that while the autopoietic theory manages to elaborate an internally consis…Read more
  •  55
    The Agent in Magenta
    PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 15 (1). 2009.
    How should we understand the relationship between conscious perception and action? Does an appeal to action have any place in an account of colour experience? This essay aims to shed light on the first question by giving a positive response to the second. I consider two types of enactive approach to perceptual consciousness, and two types of account of colour perception. Each approach to colour perception faces serious objections. However, the two views can be combined in a way that resists the …Read more
  •  39
    Lived Experience and Cognitive Science Reappraising Enactivism’s Jonasian Turn
    with M. Villalobos
    Constructivist Foundations 11 (2): 204-212. 2016.
    Context: The majority of contemporary enactivist work is influenced by the philosophical biology of Hans Jonas. Jonas credits all living organisms with experience that involves particular “existential” structures: nascent forms of concern for self-preservation and desire for objects and outcomes that promote well-being. We argue that Jonas’s attitude towards living systems involves a problematic anthropomorphism that threatens to place enactivism at odds with cognitive science, and undermine its…Read more
  •  38
    Several strands of contemporary cognitive science and its philosophy have emerged in recent decades that emphasize the role of action in cognition, resting their explanations on the embodiment of cognitive agents, and their embedding in richly structured environments. Despite their growing influence, many foundational questions remain unresolved or underexplored for this cluster of proposals, especially questions of how they can be extended beyond straightforwardly visuomotor cognitive capacitie…Read more
  •  35
    Philosophy for Everyone: second edition
    with Matthew Chrisman, Duncan Pritchard, Guy Fletcher, Elinor Mason, Jane Suilin Lavelle, Michela Massimi, and Alasdair Richmond
    Routledge. 2016.
    Philosophy for Everyone begins by explaining what philosophy is before exploring the questions and issues at the foundation of this important subject. Key topics in this new edition and their areas of focus include: Moral philosophy – the nature of our moral judgments and reactions, whether they aim at some objective moral truth, or are mere personal or cultural preferences; and the possibility of moral responsibility given the sorts of things that cause behavior; Political philosophy – fundamen…Read more
  •  35
    An enactive account of placebo effects
    with Giulio Ongaro
    Biology and Philosophy 32 (4): 507-533. 2017.
    Placebos are commonly defined as ineffective treatments. They are treatments that lack a known mechanism linking their properties to the properties of the condition on which treatment aims to intervene. Given this, the fact that placebos can have substantial therapeutic effects looks puzzling. The puzzle, we argue, arises from the relationship placebos present between culturally meaningful entities, our intentional relationship to the environment and bodily effects. How can a mere attitude towar…Read more
  •  19
    Authors’ Response: Enactivism, Cognitive Science, and the Jonasian Inference
    with M. Villalobos
    Constructivist Foundations 11 (2): 228-233. 2016.
    Upshot: In our target article we claimed that, at least since Weber and Varela, enactivism has incorporated a theoretical commitment to one important aspect of Jonas’s philosophical biology, namely its anthropomorphism, which is at odds with the methodological commitments of modern science. In this general reply we want to clarify what we mean by anthropomorphism, and explain why we think it is incompatible with science. We do this by spelling out what we call the “Jonasian inference,” i.e., the…Read more