Embodiment and Explanation

Andy Clark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


There are at least three (distinct but sometimes overlapping) ways in which embodiment seems to matter for mind and cognition. These are: spreading the load; self-structuring of information; and supporting extended cognition. Cognitive Impartiality explains the emergence of organizations (both long and short term) in which the storage, processing, and transformation of information are spread so indiscriminately between brain, body, and world. Examples of all of these effects form the basis of the literature on "embodied, embedded cognitive science." This chapter intends to take something like the three threads story pretty much for granted and asks whether (despite some recent publicity) these kinds of appeal to embodiment, action, and cognitive extension are best understood as a revolutionary change or as fully continuous with computational, representational, and (broadly speaking) information-theoretic approaches to understanding mind and cognition. In defending the latter, more conservative, view it hopes to display at least something of the likely shape of a mature science of the embodied mind.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Cognitive Science
EditorsPaco Calvo, Toni Gomila
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, Netherlands
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780080466163
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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