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In the Shadow of the Transcendental: Social Cognition in Merleau-Ponty and Cognitive Science

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Chapter Summary

Up until 1991, Dreyfus had been the only philosopher around that had anything explicit to say about phenomenology and cognitive science. Dennett's Consciousness Explained was diametrically opposite to the position that Madison defends, and outlined a quick dismissal of the relevance of phenomenology. By Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch, The Embodied Mind was also diametrically opposite to Madison, but in the opposite direction to Dennett, in showing the relevance of Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological notion of embodiment for cognitive science. Dennett's book was capitalizing on a new interest in consciousness that was emerging in cognitive science ironically, the very idea that motivated phenomenology, but that many "Continental philosophers" were then deconstructing and running away from as fast as possible. Merleau-Ponty, in the 1940s, was engaged in an interdisciplinary study of embodied cognition oriented in a phenomenological perspective.

Keywords: cognition; cognitive science; Continental philosophers; Dennett; Dreyfus; Eleanor Rosch; Evan Thompson; Francisco Varela; Merleau-Ponty



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