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Bridging embodied cognition and brain function: the role of phenomenology

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Both cognitive science and phenomenology accept the primacy of the organism-environment system and recognize that cognition should be understood in terms of an embodied agent situated in its environment. How embodiment is seen to shape our world, however, is fundamentally different in these two disciplines. Embodiment, as understood in cognitive science, reduces to a discussion of the consequences of having a body like ours interacting with our environment and the relationship is one of contingent causality. Embodiment, as understood phenomenologically, represents the condition of intelligibility of certain terms in our experience and, as such, refers to one aspect of that background which presupposes our understanding of the world. The goals and approach to modeling an embodied agent in its environment are also fundamentally different dependent on which relationship is addressed. These differences are highlighted and are used to support our phenomenologically based approach to organism-environment interaction and its relationship to brain function.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Division of Neurology, Toronto East General Hospital, 825 Coxwell Avenue #4, Toronto ON M4C3E7, Canada 2: Department of Philosophy, Princeton University, 1879 Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544–1006, USA 3: Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto ON M5S 1A8, Canada

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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