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date: 21 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The topic of this Oxford handbook is “4E cognition”: cognition as embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended. However, one important “E” is missing: an E for ecological. We sketch an ecological-enactive approach to cognition that presents a framework for bringing together the embodied/enactive program with the ecological program originally developed by James Gibson, in which affordances are central. We call this framework the skilled intentionality framework. The skilled intentionality framework is a philosophical approach to understanding the situated and affective embodied mind. It is a new conceptual framework for the field of 4E cognitive science that focuses on skilled action and builds upon an enriched notion of affordances. We define skilled intentionality as the selective engagement with multiple affordances simultaneously in a concrete situation. The skilled intentionality framework clarifies how complementary insights on affordance responsiveness from philosophy/phenomenology, ecological psychology, emotion psychology, and neurodynamics hang together in an intertwined way.

Keywords: ecological psychology, enaction, radical embodied cognitive science, affordances, landscape of affordances, field of relevant affordances, skilled intentionality, action readiness, skills, metastability

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