Madary reviews Rowlands

Check out this review (scroll down) by Michael Madary of Mark Rowlands’ The New Science of the Mind: From Extended Mind to Embodied Phenomenology.

One of the latest labels to emerge for anti-classical (or non-Cartesian, or post-cognitivist) cognitive science is “4E.” The four Es here are the embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended approaches to cognition. Since there are a number of different, and likely incompatible, lines of thought within the 4E group, more work needs to be done to articulate how the Es can and should fit together. Mark Rowlands’ newest book, The New Science of the Mind: From Extended Mind to Embodied Phenomenology, addresses this need in a valuable way. He argues, clearly and carefully, for the thesis of the amalgamated mind, which “subsumes both theses of the embodied and the extended mind” (p. 84). The thesis of the embedded mind is rejected as being merely a claim about cognition depending causally on the environment. As such, it is not strong enough to be interesting for Rowlands’ non-Cartesian project. The thesis of the enacted mind, in particular Alva Noë’s sensorimotor version of it, is also rejected as being either implausible or no stronger than the thesis of the embedded mind (pp. 81–82). First I will outline Rowlands’ defense of the thesis of the amalgamated mind; then I will raise some issues for further investigation.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Michael Madary, Ph.D., Johannes Gutenberg — Universität Mainz, FB05 Philosophie und Philologie, Jakob-Welder-Weg 18, 55099 Mainz, Germany. Email: madary@mainz-uni.de