•  484
    From participatory sense-making to language: there and back again
    with Ezequiel Di Paolo and Hanne De Jaegher
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4): 1089-1125. 2015.
    The enactive approach to cognition distinctively emphasizes autonomy, adaptivity, agency, meaning, experience, and interaction. Taken together, these principles can provide the new sciences of language with a comprehensive philosophical framework: languaging as adaptive social sense-making. This is a refinement and advancement on Maturana’s idea of languaging as a manner of living. Overcoming limitations in Maturana’s initial formulation of languaging is one of three motivations for this paper. …Read more
  •  67
    Habits of Transformation
    Hypatia 26 (3): 535-553. 2011.
    This essay argues that according to feminist existential phenomenology, feminist pragmatism, and feminist genealogy, our embodied condition is an important starting place for ethical living due to the inevitable role that habits play in our conduct. In bodies, the phenomenon of habit uniquely holds together the ambiguities of freedom and determinism, transcendence and immanence, and stability and plasticity. Seeing habit formation as a matter of self-growth and social justice gives fresh opportu…Read more
  •  49
    Linguistic Bodies: The Continuity Between Life and Language
    with Ezequiel A. Di Paolo and Hanne De Jaegher
    MIT Press. 2018.
    A novel theoretical framework for an embodied, non-representational approach to language that extends and deepens enactive theory, bridging the gap between sensorimotor skills and language. Linguistic Bodies offers a fully embodied and fully social treatment of human language without positing mental representations. The authors present the first coherent, overarching theory that connects dynamical explanations of action and perception with language. Arguing from the assumption of a deep continui…Read more
  •  42
    Gestural sense-making: hand gestures as intersubjective linguistic enactments
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (4): 599-622. 2012.
    The ubiquitous human practice of spontaneously gesturing while speaking demonstrates the embodiment, embeddedness, and sociality of cognition. The present essay takes gestural practice to be a paradigmatic example of a more general claim: human cognition is social insofar as our embedded, intelligent, and interacting bodies select and construct meaning in a way that is intersubjectively constrained and defeasible. Spontaneous co-speech gesture is markedly interesting because it at once confirms …Read more
  •  10
    Meaning Well
    Chiasmi International 18 233-246. 2016.
    Receiving another person’s gestures is an aesthetic production and an ethical pursuit. Cuffari finds support for this claim in Merleau-Ponty’s sustained comparisons between speaking, writing, and painting and in his concepts of reversibility and encroachment in The Prose of the World. She considers complex instances of gesture reception in interactions occurring in family life, poetic response to racist speech, and a robotic art exhibition. Gestures signify according to a logic of appropriative …Read more
  •  9
    Keep meaning in conversational coordination
    Frontiers in Psychology 5. 2014.
    Coordination is a widely employed term across recent quantitative and qualitative approaches to intersubjectivity, particularly approaches that give embodiment and enaction central explanatory roles. With a focus on linguistic and bodily coordination in conversational contexts, I review the operational meaning of coordination in recent empirical research and related theorizing of embodied intersubjectivity. This discussion articulates what must be involved in treating linguistic meaning as dynam…Read more
  •  9
    Letting language be: reflections on enactive method
    Filosofia Unisinos 22 (1): 117-124. 2021.
    Prompted by our commentators, we take this response as an opportunity to clarify the premises, attitudes, and methods of our enactive approach to human languaging. We high-light the need to recognize that any investigation, particularly one into language, is always a concretely situated and self-grounding activity; our attitude as researchers is one of knowing as engagement with our subject matter. Our task, formulating the missing categories that can bridge embodied cognitive science with langu…Read more
  •  6
    Doubleness in Experience: Toward a Distributed Enactive Approach to Metaphoricity
    with Thomas Wiben Jensen
    Metaphor and Symbol 29 (4): 278-297. 2014.
    A new concept of cognition also implies a novel approach to the study of metaphor. This insight is the starting point of this article presenting two innovations to comprehending and analyzing metaphor, one theoretical and one in terms of methodology. On a theoretical level we argue for a new orientation to metaphor and metaphoricity based on enactive cognition and distributed language and cognition. In recent years enactive and distributed cognition have been developing a new concept of cognitio…Read more
  •  5
    On Life-Language Continuity
    Constructivist Foundations 15 (2): 149-151. 2019.
    Open peer commentary on the article “A Critique of Barbieri’s Code Biology” by Alexander V. Kravchenko.: Kravchenko encourages language science to approach languaging as “a species-specific semiotic activity that has a biological function.” Languaging as a form of social agency is broader than semiosis but not necessarily “above” it nor driven by biological function. By focusing on participation and becoming, the enactive approach to linguistic bodies offers conceptual resources to bridge human …Read more