Theories of Cognition

This definition of embodied cognition from Wikipedia is a good starting point.

Philosophers, cognitive scientists and artificial intelligence researchers who study embodied cognition and the embodied mind argue that the nature of the human mind is largely determined by the form of the human body—that ideas, thoughts, concepts, categories and all other aspects of the mind are shaped by the body: by the perceptual system, by the intuitions that underly our ability to move, by our activities and interactions with our environment, and by the naive understanding of the world that is built into our bodies and brains. The embodied mind thesis is opposed to other theories of cognition, such as cognitivism, computationalism and Cartesian dualism.

The idea has roots in Kant and 20th century continental philosophy (such as Merleau-Ponty). The modern version depends on insights drawn from recent research in linguistics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, robotics and neurobiology.

George Lakoff (a cognitive scientist and linguist) and his collaborators (including Mark Johnson, Mark Turner, and Rafael E. Núñez) have written a series of books promoting and expanding the thesis based on discoveries in cognitive science, such as conceptual metaphor and image schema.[1]

Robotics researchers such as Rodney Brooks, Hans Moravec and Rolf Pfeifer have argued that true artificial intelligence can only be achieved by machines that have sensory and motor skills and are connected to the world through a body.[2] The insights of these robotics researchers have in turn inspired philosophers like Andy Clark and Horst Hendriks-Jansen.[3]

Neuroscientists Gerald Edelman, Antonio Damasio and others have outlined the connection between the body, individual structures in the brain and aspects of the mind such as consciousness, emotion, self-awareness and will.[4]

Biology has also inspired Gregory Bateson, Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela, Eleanor Rosch and Evan Thompson to develop a closely related version of the idea, which they call enactivism. [5]

There is also an article that takes a very general look at the impact of technology on cognition.

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