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Review of Mark Rowlands' The Body in MInd (CUP, 1999)

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  • [Shs:Phil:Epistemo] Humanities And Social Sciences/Philosophy/Epistemology And Philosophy Of Science
  • [Shs:Phil:Epistemo] Sciences De L'Homme Et Société/Philosophie/Épistémologie Et Philosophie Des Scie
  • [Shs:Phil:Language] Humanities And Social Sciences/Philosophy/Philosophy Of Language
  • [Shs:Phil:Language] Sciences De L'Homme Et Société/Philosophie/Philosophie Du Langage
  • [Shs:Phil:Perception] Humanities And Social Sciences/Philosophy/Philosophy Of Perception
  • [Shs:Phil:Perception] Sciences De L'Homme Et Société/Philosophie/Philosophie De La Perception
  • [Shs:Phil:Mind] Humanities And Social Sciences/Philosophy/Philosophy Of Mind
  • [Shs:Phil:Mind] Sciences De L'Homme Et Société/Philosophie/Philosophie De L'Esprit
  • Embodied Cognition
  • Environmentalism
  • Psychosemantics
  • Psychotectonics
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Science


1234567891011121322 23 29 Review 30 The Body in Mind, Understanding Cognitive Processes 31 by Mark Rowland. 32 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 33 Studies in Philosophy, 1999. Pp. 270. 34 PIERRE JACOB 35 36 37 On Mark Rowlands’ view, much current philosophy of mind is in the grip 38 of the internalist picture of the mind (internalism for short). Rowlands thinks 39 of the role of this picture on the model of how Wittgenstein thought of Freud’s 40 views of the unconscious as in the grip of a mythology (pp. 8–12). Rowlands 41 rejects internalism. But a picture or a myth is not something that is directly 42 open either to confirmation or refutation: its propositional content is not sharp 43 enough to be directly tested. Hence, in his book, The Body in Mind, Rowlands 44 wants to ‘subvert’ the myth (pp. 12–15). His stated purpose is not to demon- 45 strate that it is empirically inadequate let alone logically incoherent. His goal 46 is to show that internalism is not mandatory, i.e. that a different picture of the 47 mind is possible. In this very stimulating book, he does present such an alterna- 48 tive picture which he labels environmentalism. In so doing, he makes his own 49 significant contribution to the fast growing body of anti-internalist philosophy 50 of cognitive science, which is currently referred to under such various labels 51 as ‘situated cognition’, ‘the extended mind’, the ‘embedded mind’, or, as 52 implied by the title of his book, ‘the embodied mind’.1 53 Not unreasonably, Rowlands ascribes two theses to internalism: a primary 54 ontological thesis and a derivative epistemological thesis (p. 8). According to 55 the former, mental states and processes are located exclusively inside the skin 56 (and skull) of cognizing organisms. According to the latter, which quite nat- 57 urally follows from the former, it is possible to derive knowledge of the mind 58 by focusing only on events and processes occurring within the skin of cogniz- 59 ing organisms, e.g. on br

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