Embodied functionalism and inner complexity: Simon’s 21st-century mind

Rob Rupert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

This essay argues that Herbert Simon anticipated what has emerged as the consensus view about human cognition: embodied functionalism. According to embodied functionalism, cognitive processes appear at a distinctively cognitive level; types of cognitive processes (such as proving a theorem) are not identical to kinds of neural processes, because the former can take various physical forms in various individual thinkers. Nevertheless, the distinctive characteristics of such processes — their causal structures — are determined by fine-grained properties shared by various, often especially bodily related, physical processes that realize them. Simon’s apparently anti-embodiment views are surveyed and are shown to be consistent with his many claims that lend themselves to an embodied interpretation and that, to a significant extent, helped to lay the groundwork for an embodied cognitive science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMinds, Models and Milieux
Subtitle of host publicationCommemorating the Centennial of the Birth of Herbert Simon
EditorsLeslie Marsh, Roger Frantz
PublisherPalgrave Macmillian
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9781137442499
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2016


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