Pragmatism and the pragmatic turn in cognitive science

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the pragmatist approach to cognition and experience and provides some of the conceptual background to the “pragmatic turn” currently underway in cognitive science. Classical pragmatists wrote extensively on cognition from a naturalistic perspective, and many of their views are compatible with contemporary pragmatist approaches such as enactivist, extended, and embodied-Bayesian approaches to cognition. Three principles of a pragmatic approach to cognition frame the discussion: First, thinking is structured by the interaction of an organism with its environment. Second, cognition develops via exploratory inference, which remains a core cognitive ability throughout the life cycle. Finally, inquiry/problem solving begins with genuinely irritating doubts that arise in a situation and is carried out by exploratory inference.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Pragmatic turn
Subtitle of host publicationtoward action-oriented views in cognitive science
EditorsAndreas K. Engel, Karl J. Friston, Danica Kragic
Place of PublicationCambridge, Massachusetts
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780262034326
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameStrüngmann Forum Report series
PublisherMIT Press


  • Strüngmann Forum Reports
  • cognitive integration framework
  • enactive cognition
  • neural plasticity
  • pragmatism

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