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Enactive-Dynamic Social Cognition and Active Inference

Hipólito, Inês and van Es, Thomas (2021) Enactive-Dynamic Social Cognition and Active Inference. [Preprint]

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The aim of this paper is twofold: it critically analyses and rejects accounts blending active inference as theory of mind and enactivism; and it advances an enactivist-dynamic account of social cognition that is compatible with active inference. While some inference models of social cognition seemingly take an enactive perspective on social cognition, they explain it as the attribution of mental states to other people, via representational machinery, in line with Theory of Mind (ToM). Holding both enactivism and ToM, we argue, entails contradiction and confusion due to two ToM assumptions rejected by enactivism: (1) that social cognition reduces to mental representation and (2) cognition must be hardwired with a social cognition contentful “toolkit” or “starter pack” for fueling the model-like theorising supposed in (1). The paper offers a positive alternative, one that avoids contradictions or confusions. After clarifying the profile of social cognition under enactivism, i.e. without assumptions (1) and (2), the last section advances an enactivist-dynamic model of cognition as dynamic, real time, fluid, dynamic, contextual social action, where we use the formalisms of dynamical systems theory to explain the origins of sociocognitive novelty in developmental change and active inference as a tool to explain social understanding as generalised synchronisation.

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Item Type: Preprint
Hipólito, Inêsines.hipolito@hu-berlin.de0000-0001-6351-9975
van Es, Thomasthomas.vanes@uantwerpen.be0000-0002-4097-3566
Keywords: social cognition, niche construction, active inference, theory of mind, enactivism, dynamical systems theory.
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Ines Hipolito
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2021 04:24
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2021 04:24
Item ID: 19717
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: 6 October 2021

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