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Wild Relationality: The Skin Is Not an Epistemic Border

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Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 56)

Abstract

The present paper questions whether or not metatheoretical approaches to cognitive science that utilize dynamical systems theory (DST) require a definitive means of demarcating the cognitive from the non-cognitive. As more researchers utilize DST as means to describe relational properties that emerge in an organism’s interaction with its environment and then utilize relational properties as an account of cognition, we are forced to clearly specify (1) how relational properties differ from non-relational (i.e., intrinsic) properties, and (2) what, if any, roles the two types of properties play in constituting cognition. According to Wild Systems Theory (WST), this intrinsic-relational tension lies at the heart of current debates regarding extended cognition. WST asserts that if DST allows us to see cognitive phenomena in terms of relational properties, and not intrinsic properties, it might be the case that discovering the ‘bounds of cognition’ was never a problem in need of solving.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA

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