Making enactivism even more pragmatic: The Jamesian legacy in Shaun Gallagher’s enactivist approach to cognition

Guido Baggio


Abstract: The article outlines some similarities between the perspectives adopted by Shaun Gallagher and William James. In particular, assuming that the issue of representation in cognitive systems provides a valuable starting point and testing ground for verifying James’ possible contribution to enactivism, we argue that there is a considerable degree of similarity between Gallagher’s and James’ non-representational models of direct perception. Furthermore, we propose that by combining James’s theory of time and spatial perception with Gallagher’s Husserlian-inspired theory of retentional-protentional structure, we can strengthen the theoretical assumptions of enactivism, integrating elements taken from phenomenology and aspects of Jamesian pragmatics. Understood in this way, James’ enactive theory of action and perceptual causality provides a promising opportunity for an innovative and coherent enactivist research program.

Keywords: Enactivism; Pragmatism; 4E Cognition; William James; Shaun Gallagher

Rendere l’enattivismo ancora più pragmatico: l’eredità jamesiana nell’approccio enattivista alla cognizione di Shaun Gallagher

Riassunto: In questo lavoro si pongono in evidenza alcune somiglianze tra la prospettiva enattivista di Shaun Gallagher e la psicologia di William James. In particolare, assumendo che il tema della rappresentazione nei sistemi cognitivi fornisca un valido punto di partenza e un terreno di prova per verificare il possibile contributo di James all’enattivismo, ritengo che esista una notevole assonanza tra l’anti-rappresentazionalismo di Gallagher e la teoria della percezione diretta di James. Sostengo inoltre che attraverso una combinazione della teoria del tempo e della percezione spaziale di James con la teoria di Gallagher della struttura ritentivo-protensiva di ispirazione husserliana sia possibile rafforzare i presupposti teorici dell’enattivismo, integrando elementi tratti dalla fenomenologia con aspetti pragmatisti. La teoria jamesiana dell’azione e della causalità percettiva sembra fornire una promettente opportunità per un innovativo programma di ricerca in ambito enattivista.

Parole chiave: Enattivismo; Pragmatismo; 4E Cognition; William James; Shaun Gallagher

Parole chiave

Enactivism; Pragmatism; 4E Cognition; William James; Shaun Gallagher

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