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The Pragmatic TurnToward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science$
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Andreas K. Engel, Karl J. Friston, and Danica Kragic

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034326

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034326.001.0001

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Action-Oriented Understanding of Consciousness and the Structure of Experience

Action-Oriented Understanding of Consciousness and the Structure of Experience

(p.261) 15 Action-Oriented Understanding of Consciousness and the Structure of Experience
The Pragmatic Turn

Anil K. Seth

Paul F. M. J. Verschure

Olaf Blanke

Martin V. Butz

Judith M. Ford

Chris D. Frith

Pierre Jacob

Miriam Kyselo

Marek McGann

Richard Menary

Ezequiel Morsella

J. Kevin O’Regan

The MIT Press

The action-oriented approach in cognitive science emphasizes the role of action in shaping, or constituting, perception, cognition, and consciousness. This chapter summarizes a week-long discussion on how the action-oriented approach changes our understanding of consciousness and the structure of experience, combining the viewpoints of philosophers, neuroscientists, psychologists, and clinicians. This is exciting territory, since much of the resurgent activity in consciousness science has so far focused on the neural, cognitive, and behavioral correlates of perception, independent of action. A wide-ranging discussion included questions such as how actions shape consciousness, and what determines consciousness of actions. The specific context of self-experience, from its bodily aspects to its social expression were considered. The discussions were related to specific theoretical frameworks, which emphasize the role of action in cognition, and identified an emerging empirical agenda including action-based experiments in both normal subjects and clinical populations. An intensive consideration of action is likely to have a lasting impact on how we conceive of the phenomenology and mechanisms of consciousness, and on the ways in which consciousness science will unfold in the years ahead.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, action, consciousness, distributed adaptive control, enactivism, sensorimotor contingency theory, Bayesian brain

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