IAS-Research Talk by Mirko Prokop, “Towards an Enactive Account of Practical Reasoning: Setting the Scene”

On May 4th, 2023 4pm. Centro Carlos Santamaria, Room 1. The talk will be hybrid, to participate remotely contact andrea.gambarotto@uclouvain.be

Abstract: Since its inception in the 1990s, the enactive approach has grown into a vibrant framework for understanding the mind and its entanglement in biological processes, embodiment, agency, sensorimotor interactions, sociality and language, based on an organizational, dynamical, and non-representational approach centred around the concept of autonomy. Yet, despite significant progress, the characteristically human capacity to reason about what do to – a capacity hailed especially by classical approaches to which enaction was proposed as an alternative – remains to be explained in enactive terms. This explanatory lack is pressing not only in view of vindicating enaction as a new paradigm in the cognitive sciences. It is also important because dominant views both in philosophy and cognitive science continue to affirm a conception of practical reasoning which is individualistic and modelled on theoretical reasoning. However, research from various disciplines suggests that both these tendencies stand in the way of an accurate conception of practical reasoning, one that instead begins with a conception of the practical (action) and firmly places this conception in relation to the social nature of reasoning practices. I will argue that the enactive approach is in a promising position to develop a scientifically informed and philosophically illuminating account of practical reasoning which recognizes its essentially practical and social dimension. In particular, the recent enactive proposals of sensorimotor autonomy and agency, on the one hand, and of participatory sense-making and linguistic bodies, on the other, scaffold a rich conceptual space in which to develop an enactive account of practical reasoning. However, many steps towards this lofty goal remain to be taken. In particular, I will point out that what is missing from the enactive toolkit is a conception of practical inference and action explanation and justification. Expanding on enactive and related proposals, I try to sketch how an embodied account of these notions might be developed by attending to how the explanatory structure of action is laid bare and shaped through the dynamics of social interaction. My main aim, however, is not to articulate, but to motivate an enactive approach to practical reasoning, and to bring out some of its challenges and implications, to be addressed in future research.

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About Dre

Andrea is Maria Zambrano Fellow at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). He is into philosophy of science and German Idealism and does his best to argue it's not schizofrenia. Teleology, complex systems and cognition.