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Enactivism is a theoretical approach to understanding the mind proposed by Gregory Bateson, Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela and Eleanor Rosch. It emphasizes the way that organisms and the human mind organize themselves by interacting with their environment. It is closely related to situated cognition and embodied cognition, and is presented as an alternative to cognitivism, computationalism and Cartesian dualism.
 Accounts of enactivism
A book reviewer, Jeremy Trevalyan Burman, in reviewing Consciousness & Emotion, vol 1., by Ralph D. Ellis & Natika Newton, eds concluded:
|“||...the importance of this first book was not immediately clear: future volumes will need to telegraph their implications more explicitly if they are to be successfully received.||”|
However, in a review of the book Consciousness & Emotion Book Series 2 edited by Richard Menary, Evan Thompson, the book reviewer, stated the view:
|“||Enactivists criticize representational views of the mind and emphasize the importance of embodiment and action to cognition.||”|
At a fundamental level, enactivism is anti-dualist. There is no "core" self, but there is rather an enchained set of context-dependent associations that collectively provide a point-of-view in approaching the momentary problems of being. In this sense, individuals can be seen to "grow into" the world. It is not, a priori, represented, stated the authors of The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience."
In The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding, Francisco Varela claims to have "proposed using the term enactive to designate this view of knowledge, to evoke the view that what is known is brought forth, in contraposition to the more classical views of either cognitivism or connectionism." [Tree of Knowledge pg. 255] Within the book, the analogies of the Razor's Edge and the Scylla and Charybdis are used to describe the "epistemologic Odyssey" between the notions of solipsism and representationalism. Enactivism, therefore is the middle ground between the two extremes [Tree of Knowledge, pgs. 133,134,253]. Maturana and Varela use this term to "confront the problem of understanding how our existence-the praxis of our living- is coupled to a surrounding world which appears filled with regularities that are at every instant the result of our biological and social histories.... to find a via media: to understand the regularity of the world we are experiencing at every moment, but without any point of reference independent of ourselves that would give certainty to our descriptions and cognitive assertions. Indeed the whole mechanism of generating ourselves, as describers and observers tells us that our world, as the world which we bring forth in our coexistence with others, will always have precisely that mixture of regularity and mutability, that combination of solidity and shifting sand, so typical of human experience when we look at it up close."[Tree of Knowledge, pg. 241]
 Scholars with sympathetic ideas
 See also
 Further reading
- McGann, M. & Torrance, S. (2005). Doing it and meaning it (and the relationship between the two). In R. D. Ellis & N. Newton, Consciousness & Emotion, vol. 1: Agency, conscious choice, and selective perception. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. ISBN 1-58811-596-8
- Hutto, D. D. (Ed.) (in press). Radical Enactivism: Intentionality, phenomenology, and narrative. In R. D. Ellis & N. Newton (Series Eds.), Consciousness & Emotion, vol. 2. ISBN 90-272-4151-1
- ^ The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience
- ^ a b Burman, J. T. (2006). [Review of the book Consciousness & Emotion, vol. 1: Agency, conscious choice, and selective perception.], Journal of Consciousness Studies, 13(12), pp. 115-119. Full-text
- ^ Radical Enactivism
- ^ Varela, F., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1991). The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.