Phenomenology and embodied cognition


As this volume makes clear, research on embodied cognition draws from a number of disciplines and is supported by a variety of methodological strategies. In this chapter I focus on what phenomenology has contributed to our understanding of embodied cognition. I take “phenomenology” to mean the philosophical tradition initiated in the twentieth century by Edmund Husserl and developed by a variety of philosophers, including Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, Aron Gurwitsch, and numerous others. More recently phenomenologists following this tradition have been drawn into theoretical and empirical research in the cognitive sciences, and especially into discussions of enactive and embodied conceptions of the mind (e.g. Dreyfus, 1973, 2002; Gallagher, 2005; Gallagher and Zahavi, 2012; Thompson, 2007; Varela, Thompson, and Rosch, 1991). I’ll start by looking at some of the historical resources that de?ne the phenomenology of the body. I’ll then consider how phenomenology, as a methodology, relates to scienti?c investigations of embodied cognition, and ?nally go on to identify some of the insights about embodied cognition that phenomenology provides.

Publication Title

The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition