The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience

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MIT Press, Nov 13, 1992 - Psychology - 328 pages
The Embodied Mind provides a unique, sophisticated treatment of the spontaneous and reflective dimension of human experience. The authors argue that only by having a sense of common ground between mind in Science and mind in experience can our understanding of cognition be more complete. Toward that end, they develop a dialogue between cognitive science and Buddhist meditative psychology and situate it in relation to other traditions such as phenomenology and psychoanalysis.

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User Review  - Alex1952 - LibraryThing

This is a very "dense" book that would appeal to people a) with a lot of background in the philosophy of mind and b) looking for alternative approaches to those provided by western philosophy. However ... Read full review

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User Review  - pegsyverson - LibraryThing

Absolutely foundational Read full review

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Page 59 - For my part when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception.
Page 233 - Objects' do not exist independently of conceptual schemes. We cut up the world into objects when we introduce one or another scheme of description. Since the objects and the signs are alike internal to the scheme of description, it is possible to say what matches what.
Page 140 - We have now not merely explored the territory of pure understanding, and carefully surveyed every part of it, but have also measured its extent, and assigned to everything in it its rightful place. This domain is an island, enclosed by nature itself within unalterable limits. It is the land of truth - enchanting name! surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, the native home of illusion...
Page 271 - Yet an American describing it will list the hues as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, or something of the kind. The continuous gradation of color which exists in nature is represented in language by a series of discrete categories.
Page 141 - This domain is an island, enclosed by nature itself within unalterable limits. It is the land of truth— enchanting name!— surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, the native home of illusion, where many a fog bank and many a swiftly melting iceberg give the deceptive appearance of farther shores, deluding the adventurous seafarer ever anew with empty hopes, and engaging him in enterprises he can never abandon and yet is unable to carry to completion.
Page 3 - Perception is not a science of the world, it is not even an act, a deliberate taking up of a position; it is the background from which all acts stand out, and is presupposed by them...
Page 9 - Varela et al. (1991), the use of the term 'enactive' is meant "to emphasize the growing conviction that cognition is not the representation of a given world by a pregiven mind but is rather the enactment of a world and a mind on the basis of a history of the variety of actions that a being in the world performs
Page 218 - Whether we want to be there or not, science has put us in a position of having to live without foundations. It was shocking when Nietzsche said this, but today it is commonplace; our historical position — and" no end to it is in sight— is that of having to philosophize without 'foundations'.
Page 174 - But it is the organism itself — according to the proper nature of its receptors, the thresholds of its nerve centers and the movements of the organs — which chooses the stimuli in the physical world to which it will be sensitive. "The environment (Umwelt) emerges from the world through the actualization or the being of the organism — [granted that] an organism can exist only if it succeeds in finding in the world an adequate environment.
Page 173 - Thus the overall concern of an enactive approach to perception is not to determine how some perceiverindependent world is to be recovered; it is, rather, to determine the common principles or lawful linkages between sensory and motor systems that explain how action can be perceptually guided in a perceiverdependent world 5.

About the author (1992)

Francisco J. Varela (1946–2001) was Director of the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, Professor of Cognitive Science and Epistemology, CREA, at the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, and Cofounder of the Mind and Life Institute.

Eleanor Rosch is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Evan Thompson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia and author of Waking, Dreaming, Being.

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