RECkoning with the stakes in overcoming representation-hungry problem domains

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The paper reviews the current state of play around non-representationalist attempts at
countering Clark and Toribio’s (1994) representation-hunger thesis. It introduces a
distinction between different approaches to Chemero’s (2009) Radical Embodied
Cognition thesis in form of, on the one hand, those pushing a hard line and, on the
other, those who are more relaxed about their anti-representationalist commitments. In
terms of overcoming Clark and Toribio’s thesis, hardliners seek to avoid any
mentioning of mental content in the activity they purport to explain. Yet, the paper
argues, adopting a hardline complicates this endeavor considerably and unnecessarily.
Those adopting a relaxed REC, however, are better off in that they have no problem in
recognizing that some types of cognition are hybrid. By turning to Hutto and Myin’s
Radical Enactivism as a prime example of a relaxed approach to the REC thesis, the
paper points towards the lack of continuity of covariant information and informational
content as the gap that would necessarily have to be closed in order for RECers to,
once and for all, dismiss Clark and Toribio’s hypothesis that certain kinds of cognition
are per definition off limits to anti-representationalism.
TidsskriftActa Analytica
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


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