Thursday, 10 February 2011

New Reading Group: Chemero (2009), Radical Embodied Cognitive Science

I thought it was time to pick up the next book I have on my list to go through here on the blog. This is Tony Chemero's book, Radical Embodied Cognitive Science (hence RECS). I've read through it once, and it inspired me to write on affordances here, here and here. My goal now is to take things a little more slowly and think about the detail.

Tony is a philosopher who's been actively engaged in things ecological for quite a while now. The goal of RECS is to lay out a) what radical embodied cognitive science is, b) propose a methodological stance in the form of dynamical systems, and then c) lay out how ecological psychology is the key theoretical structure that gives this approach it's methods for 'discovery', i.e. the ability to make predictions and do normal science. (Still curious? Check out the Wordle of the book!) Chemero's going to invoke what he describes as 'shored-up ecological psychology'; this refers to his ideas on the ontology of affordances and on information. I'm not currently all that convinced by the changes, but I'll leave the details until we get there. I'll try and entice Tony into stopping by, hopefully we can have a dialogue on some of this material (especially the later chapters on his 'shored up' version of Gibson).

I've been preparing posts on chapters for the last few months, actually, but I've waited to start posting so that I could be well ahead before I got going. This is going to let me tweak the posts with later information in mind, as well as post updates fairly regularly without crushing my schedule. I'm really enjoying this extended process, I'm coming to grips with what Tony is up to and it's been an excellent way to really study the book. My optimistic plan is to stay ahead like this, and move onto other books in the future.

I'll post on the first chapter as next Tuesday's update; I'd love it if people were reading along and commenting.

Chemero, A. (2009). Radical Embodied Cognitive Science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.,, MIT Press e-book

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