Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Pragmatic TurnToward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 21 May 2022

Can Cognition Be Reduced to Action?

Can Cognition Be Reduced to Action?

Processes That Mediate Stimuli and Responses Make Human Action Possible

(p.81) 5 Can Cognition Be Reduced to Action?
The Pragmatic Turn

Lawrence W. Barsalou

The MIT Press

After treating action as peripheral for decades, cognitive scientists increasingly appreciate the fundamental roles it plays throughout cognition. This chapter proposes that the central roles of action in human cognition depend on important processes that mediate between stimuli and responses. The unique features of human cognition reflect not only a remarkable potential for action, but also powerful abilities that mediate action in response to the environment. Sophisticated action results from sophisticated mediation, e.g., from mediating processes associated with representation, conceptualization, internal state attribution, affect, and self-regulation. Integrated with action systems, these mediating processes endow humans with unusually flexible and powerful means of shaping their physical and social environments. Without taking these mediating processes into account, it is difficult to explain human action as well as basic cognitive phenomena associated with memory, concepts, categorization, symbolic operations, language, problem solving, decision making, motivation, emotion, reward, self, mentalizing, and social cognition. Instead of reducing cognition to action, an alternative is to develop a viable theory that does justice to the importance of action in cognition, while integrating mediating processes that complement it.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, action, cognition, conceptual knowledge, language, conceptual processing, memory, perception, social interaction

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.