SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

The Limits of Neuro-reductionism
(Philosophy of Mind, English)

It is generally assumed that cognitive and conscious processes exclusively supervene on neural activity. However, a large number of recent findings seem to support what is defended by the new pragmatic approach in cognitive science; more concretely the idea that cognitive processes should be considered as Embodied, Embedded, Extended or Enacted. Rather than defending one of these positions, the current work will be focussed on criticiziging a classic and full neurocentric understanding of the mind that characterizes cognitivist approaches to cognition. In contrast, It will be defended the idea that cognitive and conscious processes depend on the activity of the organism as a whole (the whole brain-body system embedded in the environment). To take into account the role played by the body seriously, it will be necessary to reject the main assumptions of computationalism and start using a notion of embodiment similar to the one defended by enactivists. The body has to be treated as an irreducible biological source of meaning rather than a neural representation or a computational machine (as proposed also by defenders of weaker forms of embodied cognition). It will be discussed two of the most promising arguments aimed to defend the brain-bound nature of cognition and experience. The two arguments are respectively "The Brain in a Vat Thought Experiment" and "The Bandwidth Argument". The first one is aimed to defend the concept of body neutrality; the idea that the body does not play any special role in the emergence of cognitive and conscious phenomena; the second is aimed to argue that, at least, conscious processes are completely brain-bound. It will be showed that both arguments fail for different reasons. In the conclusion, it will be discussed how a future cognitive science could like in order to study the mental life of the embodied organism seriously. A key role will be played by the integration of dynamical systems theory, ecological psychology and phenomenological approaches in cognitive science.

Chair: Alexander Gebharter
Time: 10:00-10:30, 20 September 2019 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.007

Giuseppe Flavio Artese 
(Rub, Bochum, Germany)

My name is Giuseppe Flavio Artese and I am a master student in Cognitive Science at Rub with a background in philosophy. My philosophical interests are related on one hand to contemporary philosophy of mind and on the other to the phenomenological tradition. More in particular, I am interested in the notion of embodiment and in the enactive framework. "I which way the body participates to cognitive processes", " Will the enactive framewrok substitute cognitivism in the future?" "Is Cognition a brain-bound phenomenon?" are some of the most central questions that I investigate in my work.

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