The University of Sussex

Embodiment for non-Cartesians

Ronald Lemmen

The majority of cognitive science is Cartesian in that it accepts the Cartesian cut between mind and body. The cut makes it impossible to take seriously either the mental (understood as the experiential) or the bodily. Rejection of the Cartesian cut leads to the simultaneous rejection of both ``pure mind'' and ``mere behaviour''. It also leads to a reconceptualisation of embodiment. The living body is not a machine, but it actively brings forth a world. It is explained how situations are ``the other side'' of the habits of the body, drawing on the work of Dewey, Merleau-Ponty and Brooks. Finally, an attempt is made to explain how even abstract thought can be understood as essentially depending on embodiment.

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