Tuesday, June 01, 2004

So, if I were... here's what I'd say. Pt 2

Let's try to get our bearings. Cognitive science, roughly speaking, is the attempt to understand human consciousness as information processing. Cognitive science takes a generally functionalist approach to the mind, which means that it characterises mental states in terms of their functional roles, independently of the physiology of the brain. This way, while it remains broadly materialist, it hopes to avoid making any substantive metaphysical claims.

To understand its embodied, embedded strand (also known as enactivism), it is important to understand the changes cognitive science has undergone in recent years. As little as ten years ago, cognitive science could be characterised by its adhesion to the symbolic hypothesis: the claim that cognition amounts to symbol-processing, the ratiocination of discrete pieces of information according to inferential rules. On this view, the senses and actions are accordingly understood as the transduction of

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