Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chemero, 2009, on Explaining Cognition

Tony now and again writes of "explaining cognition as mental gymnastics".  So, for example, on p. 43, he writes,
van Rooij, Bongers, and Haselager's dynamical account of imagined action show[s] how radical embodied cognitive science can explain cognition as the unfolding of a brain-body-world system, and not as mental gymnastics.
To me, it is a little odd to suggest that cognitivists want to explain cognition as mental gymnastics; cognition just is mental gymnastics.  It's what the cognitivists think cognition is.  And, I take it that RECSers hypothesize that cognition is the unfolding of a brain-body-world system, which a cognitivist might call "behavior".


  1. I think any mature cognitive science needs to explain about both "behavior" and "mental gymnastics". It's clear that human cognition does perform mental gymnastics through its superior, linguistically driven intelligence. But a large bulk of human cognition is still "below the radar" of conscious awareness, and very much grounded by "behavior", both neural (obviously) and extraneural (e.g. diffuse hormone fields).

  2. I agree, Gary. But, notice that Chemero seems not to have room for these two explanatory projects, namely, explaining behavior and explaining mental gymnastics. If cognition is behavior, then what is mental gymnastics?