Review of 'The Body in Mind' by Mark Rowlands
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
Source: Mind, 109 (2000): 434-7
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

    In this intriguing book, Mark Rowlands develops a view of cognitive processes that he calls 'environmentalism.' Environmentalism can be summed up in two claims. The first is ontological: "Cognitive processes are not located exclusively inside the skin of cognizing organisms." The other is epistemological: "It is not possible to understand the nature of cognitive processes by focussing exclusively on what is occurring inside the skin of cognizing organisms." (p. 22) Like a growing number of philosophers today, Rowland opposes the comprehensive, pre-theoretical background picture that he calls 'the Cartesian picture.' The central feature of the Cartesian picture, which Rowland thinks has misguided contemporary theorizing about the mind, is a pervasive internalism. Mental states and processes are located "inside the skin," and can be understood by focusing exclusively on what is inside the skin. Although Rowlands outlines an alternative, the purpose of the alternative is first to unseat the internalist mythology (in Wittgenstein's sense), and only second to present a replacement.


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