Nicole Rossmanith talk: Karl Bühler meets Enactive Cognitive Science – Towards a Science of Social Co-regulation and Making Sense

Nicole Rossmanith talk:
Karl Bühler meets Enactive Cognitive Science – Towards a Science of Social Co-regulation and Making Sense

Centro Carlos Santamaría Zentroa, B14
11h00 6th October

This talk sets out to explore points of contact between the approach of early 20th century psychologist Karl Bühler and some recent developments in cognitive science such as enactivism, sensorimotor accounts of cognition or second person approaches…

During the 1920ies – times of proliferation and crisis – in Vienna (the heyday of the Vienna Circle, Freud, as well as the “biologische Versuchsanstalt Vivarium”) Bühler writes a productive critique of the competing schools of psychology (“Crisis in Psychology”), opening up the question of the proper “subject matter of psychology” and in the following years goes on to sketch a programme for a Psychology, firmly grounded in (systems) biology and aiming to address all areas of “meaningful life” including the behaviour of unicellular organisms as well as products of human culture.

This talk will explore (1) how Bühler’s systematic critique based on an analysis of different (and complementary) ways of approaching the mind (experience, behaviour, and structure approaches) can be instrumental for understanding some of the problems inherent in modern cognitive science and how they came about. And I will explore (2) some of the untapped potential of his positive framework and how it might open up a new road for cognitive science not yet travelled.
Bühler’s approach is very much in line with recent developments in cognitive science (action turn, social turn, semiotic turn). His systems view of organisms, taking purposeful action as the basic unit of analysis, his emphasis on social co-regulation being constitutive for society and “higher cognitive functions” such as language, and in particular his cyber-semiotic theory of communication and cognition/interaction (combining his notion of “Steuerung/regulation” with an elaborated theory sign processes) are strikingly similar to concerns and concepts of enactivism and sensory-motor accounts of cognition (such as (participatory) sense-making and “active perception”…), and might in some aspects even point beyond them.