Zsuzsanna Kondor Senior research fellow, Institute of Philosophy, hun-ren Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest

Enacting Metaphysics: Representation and Sense-making in Enactivism

We encounter numerous criticisms when considering the incompleteness of enactivism. As an umbrella term, enactivism refers to an approach that takes a radical stance as compared to traditional cognitive science. Consequently, much of the criticism is rooted in the absence of supportive scientific evidence, though certain assessments draw attention to the lack of a clear metaphysical commitment.
Historically, investigations have revealed that the concept of the embodied mind and the active nature of perception and cognition have deep-seated roots in philosophy. However, earlier attempts in this direction were explicit about their metaphysical commitment. Recent approaches within enactivism seem to sidestep metaphysical questions. While one of enactivism’s primary goals is to transcend the dualistic divide between external and internal aspects of cognition, aiming to establish a process-based, dynamically changing view of worldly existence, it avoids explicit commitment to dualism vs. monism, or realism, vs. idealism.
Nonetheless, the active collaboration with and reliance on cognitive psychology and neurology imply that enactivism leans towards a realist and materialist stance. Science is primarily engaged in the observation and measurement of material entities, striving to unveil the workings of these material assemblages. Therefore, it readily aligns itself with realism concerning its subjects and objectives. In the case of recent embodied mind theories, the situation is different.
In this presentation, I will delve into two central issues of enactivism: representation and sense-making. My aim is to shed light on what these topics entail for metaphysical questions.