The dynamics of sense and self

Start - End 
2018 - 2021 (ongoing)



In the past three decades, developments in cognitive science and philosophy of mind have given rise to an embodied dynamicist approach to cognition, which takes cognitive systems to be dynamical systems. Embodied dynamicist approaches to the mind consider cognition as an intrinsically temporal, embodied phenomenon and aim to show how cognitive processes and structures emerge from dynamic self-organizing sensorimotor systems. Many proponents of the dynamical approach have argued for a revision of the traditional computational, information-processing approach and for a reciprocal integration between dynamicist approaches and phenomenology. My purpose in this project is to contribute to this integration by developing a phenomenological approach to the following two concepts central to embodied dynamicism:

1. Movement: how may affection and action be conceived as (a) dynamically co-constituted in interaction with the environment and (b) generative of sense? To what extent may intentionality be grounded in movement?

2. Metabolism: recent research in the cognitive sciences suggests that dynamic, unconscious processes of metabolic regulation play a major formative role in any organism's capacity to integrate affection, perception and action into meaningful patterns. A second aim of this project is to develop a phenomenological approach to dynamical views of metabolism as the minimal energetic condition for cognition and the emergence of self.