COMP40280 Embodiment and Enactive approaches to Cognitive Science

Academic Year 2020/2021

This module introduces themes of embodiment, extended mind, and enaction. These constitute a radical departure from psychological theories that rely on mind-brain identity, and that view the mind/brain computationally.
Embodied and Enactive theories of cognition will be the principal focus, but the module will introduce these in the context of several other important strands in contemporary cognitive science. Topics covered may include Extended Minds, Embodiment, Ecological Psychology, Enaction, mind and life, and the relationship between individual and collective accounts of cognition. Together these topics span the emerging field of post-cognitive theory. Classes will consist of group discussions of material students have read in preparation. Sample materials can be viewed at

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students will become familiar with a range of philosophical, theoretical, and practical approaches to understanding human minds and experience. They will learn to differentiate between cognitivist and post-cognitivist approaches, and will emerge with an appreciation of the kind of explanatory pluralism required for addressing scientific and philosophical questions about the human condition. They will understand the scope of embodied and enactive theories of cognition.

Indicative Module Content:

The Extended Mind; Biosemiotics; Embodiment; Ecological Psychology; Enaction; Mind and Life;

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a discussion seminar. Students are required to read specific papers before class and to actively engage in in-class discussion. They are further required to read, and engage with, blog posts by their classmates. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

It is recommended that students have prior knowledge of conventional, information processing theories of cognition, either through a grounding in cognitive psychology, or in artificial intelligence.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Agreed number of blog posts Throughout the Trimester n/a Other Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

This module requires good faith participation and the completion of at least two substantial blog posts. The dialogical nature of the module means that the opinions expressed in the posts are free to deviate from the positions discussed in class.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Wed 14:00 - 15:50