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date: 10 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Dynamical systems theories describe a wide range of theoretical orientations in cognitive science. In this chapter we focus on a particular formulation of dynamical systems theory that provides a strong theoretical basis for some of the claims made by 4E approaches to cognition. In particular, the target dynamical systems approaches depend on two hypotheses. First, the interaction hypothesis states that the states and behaviors of any entity in a cognitive system are highly dependent on the states and behaviors of some other entity or set of entities. Second, the openness hypothesis states that cognitive systems only persist in the context of other systems. Taken together, these hypotheses entail that the boundaries of cognitive systems should not be taken for granted, and that there are both metrics and reasons for empirically investigating how cognitive systems may be bounded and how those boundaries might change.

Keywords: dynamical systems theories, non-equilibrium dynamics, open systems, interaction, complexity, extended cognition, embodied cognition, self-organization, complex systems

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