•  4975
    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
  •  414
    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.
  •  366
    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
  •  291
    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
  •  280
    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
  •  154
    Phenomenology as Radical Reflection
    In Heather Logue & Louise Richardson (eds.), Purpose and Procedure in Philosophy of Perception. pp. 234-257. 2021.
    What does it mean to adopt a phenomenological approach when doing philosophy of perception? And what form should such an approach take? I address these questions by first distinguishing three different ways of drawing philosophical conclusions based on phenomenological reflection: 'Humean' phenomenology, which attempts to discern the structure of perceptual experience via reflection on its surface properties; 'Kantian' phenomenology, which aims to provide a priori arguments about the structure p…Read more
  •  134
    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
  •  133
    Transaction or Transformation: Why do Philosophy in Prisons?
    Journal of Prison Education and Reentry 7 (2): 214-226. 2021.
    Why do public philosophy in prisons? When we think about the value and aims of public philosophy there is a well-entrenched tendency to think in transactional terms. The academy has something of value that it aims to pass on or transmit to its clients. Usually, this transaction takes place within the confines of the university, in the form of transmission of valuable skills or knowledge passed from faculty to students. Public philosophy, construed within this transactional mindset, then consists…Read more
  •  106
    Between Perception and Action By Bence Nanay
    Analysis 75 (4): 684-686. 2015.
    A short review of Bence Nanay's 'Between Action and Perception'
  •  98
    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
  •  87
    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
  •  81
    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
  •  80
    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
  •  68
    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
  •  57
    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
  •  57
    Synthese 198 (Suppl 9): 2135-2151. 2019.
    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
  •  53
    Skepticism about the limits of online learning is as old as online learning itself. As with other technologically-driven innovations in pedagogy, there are deep-seated worries that important educational goods might be effaced or obscured by the ways of teaching and learning that online methods allow. One family of such worries is inspired by reflections on the bodily basis of an important kind of understanding, and skepticism over whether this bodily basis can be inculcated in the absence of act…Read more
  •  53
    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
  •  46
    An enactive account of placebo effects
    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
  •  37
    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
  •  27
    Sensorimotor Relationalism and Conscious Vision
    Philosophical Quarterly 73 (1): 258-281. 2022.
    I argue that the phenomenal properties of conscious visual experiences are properties of the mind-independent objects to which the subject is perceptually related, mediated by the subject's practical understanding of their sensorimotor relation to those properties. This position conjoins two existing strategies for explaining the phenomenal character of perceptual experiences: accounts appealing to perceivers’ limited, non-inferential access to the details of their sensory relation to the enviro…Read more