From Body to Self - Towards a Socially Enacted Autonomy With Implications for Locked-in Syndrome and Schizophrenia

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Titel: From Body to Self - Towards a Socially Enacted Autonomy With Implications for Locked-in Syndrome and Schizophrenia
Autor(en): Kyselo, Miriam
Erstgutachter: Prof. Dr. Sven Walter
Zweitgutachter: Prof. Dr. Ezequiel Di Paolo
Prof. Dr. Evan Thompson
Zusammenfassung: Embodied approaches to cognition consider themselves as alternatives to a brain-bound view of cognition. They decisively emphasize that the brain is not the minimal basis for cognition, but that the body plays a crucial role as well. But what do we actually mean by “the body” and to what extent is it a necessary condition for cognition? Is bodily action equated with movement? Is the human body just a biological phenomenon? How is it related to the human self and sociality? This thesis explores these questions by confronting embodied cognitive science with Locked-in Syndrome (LIS), a case of global paralysis, which despite the lack of voluntarily bodily action seems to leave the patient cognitively intact. I suggest that LIS poses a challenge to embodied cognitive science putting into question our basic assumptions on what it means to be a human cognitive system. A body without movement and a self whose connection to the social sphere is radically impoverished – how can we make sense of this? LIS challenges the concepts by which we describe the structure and various dimensions of cognition and it invites us to make explicit the background epistemology and general perspective through which we relate the different aspects of cognition. First, I provide an overview of the philosophy of cognitive science, from the orthodox perspective up to recent embodied cognitive science. I then introduce and clarify the enactive approach, an integrative framework for cognitive science that also serves as the epistemological basis of this thesis. Based on the different states of LIS I formulate a challenge to embodied cognitive science and discuss how the sensorimotor, functionalist and phenomenological approach to embodiment account for it. The discussion casts doubt on the assumption that a body has mainly to do with movement and it reposes the question how tool-use figures in cognition. It also brings to attention the dimension of bodily subjectivity and raises a much-neglected issue in recent cognitive science: the role of the body in social interactions. I show that these approaches to embodiment entail restrictive or loose notions of the body and are not fully able to account for cognition in LIS. I formulate a proposal for an enactive concept of the body integrating aspects from the sensorimotor and phenomenological approach to the body. I defend the idea that the enactive approach is the best framework in embodied cognitive science to counter the challenge posed by LIS and BCI. However, since embodied cognitive science entails an individualistic perspective not fully taking into account that humans are embedded in a social environment the question how the body matters in social interaction can also not be resolved from an enactive perspective on the body. In the last part of this thesis I thus propose transcending the level of individual embodiment. I make suggestions for elaborating on the enactive notion for the cognitive system (autonomy) from a social perspective. I propose to conceive of human mind in terms of a network that is based on the enaction of social processes of distinction and participation. Based on this notion I show how we arrive at an understanding of the human cognitive system which could ultimately account for the basic challenge posited by LIS – the clarification and interrelation of the concepts of body, self and sociality. In the last chapter I provide support for the plausibility for this proposal by applying it to another empirical context, namely psychiatry. What we think about the nature of human mind sets the ground for our thinking about breakdowns and what happens in cases when it does not work. I explore possible implications of the concept of socially enacted human autonomy for mental disorders in general, and for schizophrenia in particular.
Schlagworte: enactive self; embodied cognition; locked-in syndrome; enactive approach to schizophrenia; enactive approach to psychopathology; body-social problem
Erscheinungsdatum: 4-Nov-2013
Publikationstyp: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Enthalten in den Sammlungen:FB08 - E-Dissertationen

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