Review of 'Radicalizing Enactivism' by Hutto and Myin (2012) Michael Starks ABSTRACT Probably the leading exponent of W’s ideas on the language games of inner and outer (the ‘Two Selves’ operation of our personality or intentionality or EP etc. ) the prolific Daniel Hutto’s (DH) approach is called ‘Radical Enactivism’ and is well explainedin numerous recent books and papers. It is a development of or version of the Embodied Mind ideas now current and, cleansed of its jargon, it is a straightforward extension of W’s 2nd and 3rd period writings (though Hutto seems only intermittently aware of this). The basic idea of the Embodied Mind or Enactivism is that much of behavior is automated and does not involve representations (basically S2 dispositions-see Hutto’s lovely dissection of the ‘representation rats nest’ in his online papers ). To me this is just another way of stating the fact that System 1 precedes the operation of System 2 which is a standard feature of contemporary psychology, which I have explained above and in further detail in my reviews of Wittgenstein (who was the first to see this and explored it in great detail) and Searle (who called it The Phenomenological Illusion in his superb essay of this name in his book Philosophy in a New Century which I have also reviewed). Since these are basic incontrovertible facts of animal behavior and I have already discussed them I won’t dwell on it here.This book is a sustained argument against other similar ways of describing behavior which he calls CEC and CIC in favor of REC (Radical Embodied Cognition), which he characterizes as “the strongest reading of the embodiment thesis—one that uncompromisingly maintains that basic cognition is literally constituted by, and to be understood in terms of concrete patterns of environmental situated organismic activity, nothing more or less” (p11). Thisis clear as a bell if you understand the two systems view explained above but likely opaque if you don’t. Much clearer is Fodor’s characterization which he quotes as “abilities are prior to theories”, that “competence is prior to content” and that “knowing how is the paradigm cognitive state and it is prior to knowing that” (p10). That is, the unconscious automatisms of S1 are evolutionarily and behaviorally prior to the slow conscious dispositions of S2. This is classic Hutto high level philosophical dialog, which is quite elegant, but somewhat too dense and a tad pretentious for the rest of us. I have not before encountered his coauthor Myin so can’t say how much of this text is really due to him. It is clear from this and the rest of Hutto’s work that (like everyone else) he has not quite kept up with the latest work in psychology nor really grasped the full power of W or S, even though he is one of the top Wittgensteinians alive and as bright as anyone in the field. His discussions of the language games of “information”
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