University of Sussex
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The retreat from alienation in cognitive science

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posted on 2023-06-08, 15:11 authored by Paul Loader
This thesis examines the relevance of Hegelian-Marxian theory to modern day philosophy of cognitive science. It is suggested that certain key Hegelian-Marxian ideas and themes, such as ‘externalization’, ‘praxis’ and ‘dialectics’, have parallels in modern day cognitive science and that, in some instances a direct connection can be traced from Marxian theory to recent cognitive science, via intermediaries such as Vygotsky, Merleau-Ponty and Levins & Lewontin. It is also suggested that the overarching trajectory of cognitive science is one that can be usefully understood in Marxian terms as a ‘retreat from alienation.’ Taking this as one’s starting point enables one to unify otherwise disparate perspectives under a single banner. In addition it provides one with a means of evaluating individual accounts, such as Varela, Thompson and Rosch’s ‘Embodied Mind’ and Clark and Chalmers’ ‘Extended Mind’. Conversely, some recent cognitive scientific accounts, such as Kirsh & Maglio’s work on ‘epistemic action’, offer further illumination of ideas that are ambiguously expressed in Marxian theory.


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  • Informatics Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • eng


University of Sussex

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