Core Enaction Semester 2


The series will be hosted by Dr. Marek McGann, and during this first semester we will cover chapters 1-6 of the book over six sessions, with a final 7th session dedicated to a general discussion with participants and guest speakers. Each session consists of a presentation by a guest speaker followed by questions and discussion with the participants.

February 22nd: During the first session, Dr. McGann will provide an introduction and critical reading of the first chapter, dedicated to the authors’ definitions of ‘cognitive science’ and ‘human experience’ and to an overview of how they see the dialogue between them.

March 8th: In the second session, Marek will welcome a guest speaker, Dr. Philippe Blouin, who will continue exploring the theme of the science-experience dialogue with his reading of chapter 2. The focus here will be more specifically on the phenomenological tradition and its relations to science.

March 22nd:Dr. Marieke van Vugt, leading the third session, will present chapter 3 on computational mind and the presuppositions of the cognitivist perspective on mind. What is cognitivism and what kind of subject does it presuppose? Is this view of cognition compatible with phenomenological mind - the mind of human experience?

April 5th: With the fourth session we will enter the “I of the Storm” with Dr. Antonino Raffone, who will present chapter 4. What is the ‘self’? We tend to sense our ‘self’ as something fixed and constant, but our experience is always changing, pointing to an impermanence of this self. Here the teachings of the Abhidharma are convened in parallel with biological principles of self-organization in order to make sense of this apparent dilemma.

April 19th:Dr. Giuseppe Pagnoni will join us for our reading of chapter 5, in which enaction, the alternative paradigm to the classical cognitivist understanding of mind, is introduced. Many of the concepts brought up in Core Enaction’s first semester, Genealogy, including cybernetics, self-organization, and emergence, will come into play here.

May 3rd: Dr. Bronwyn Finnigan (TBC) explores chapter 6, which further probes the enactive program’s claim that cognition is not computation but rather embodied action. The absence of a stable, unitary ‘self,’ as conceived by the new sciences of mind, is buttressed by a look at the Buddhist concept of codependent arising or groundlessness of self.

May 17th: Concluding discussion with participants and guest speakers from sessions 1-6.

May 31st: Bonus discussion session with participants, led by Dr. Evan Thompson.