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date: 11 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

How can approaching the topic of 4E cognition from an evolutionary perspective shed light on aspects of cultural and biological evolution, the nature of cognition in general, and of human nature in particular? The four papers in this section offer a temporal analysis that puts cognition into a context of larger processes that span historical and indeed evolutionary time, and they embed the dynamics of cognition beyond brains and individuals, into groups and even species. This analysis does not deny the importance of abstract representations for human cognition. However, all four contributions suggest that in focusing too narrowly on representational cognition we lose sight of the basic mechanisms supporting and driving cognition. Furthermore, to understand these, we need to understand not only how these processes are embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended, but also how they are shaped, transmitted, and diversified in processes of group formation.

Keywords: cultural evolution, biological evolution, group cognition, sensorimotor coordination, mindreading, mindshaping, thinging, niche construction, extended phenotype, distributed cognition

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