Universität Wien

180164 SE MEi:CogSci Topic-Seminar (2024S)

Mind the Body!

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung

Preparation meeting: Monday March 4th, 2024, 11:00-13:00, digital


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch



Monday 18.3.2024 9-13h HS 2i, NIG
Monday 8.4.2024 9-13h HS 2i, NIG
Monday 15.4.2024 9-13h HS 2i, NIG
Monday 13.5.2024 9-13h HS 2i, NIG
Monday 27.5.2024 9-13h HS 2i, NIG
Monday 3.6.2024 9-13h HS 2i, NIG
Monday 24.6.2024 9-13h HS 2i, NIG


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

The aim of the seminar is to introduce approaches in cognitive science that recognise the fundamental importance of the body in cognition and to explore the relation between body and mind both in theory and in practice. Embodied approaches to understanding mind and thinking have become very popular in the last decades since Varela, Thompson and Rosch (1991) coined the term “embodied mind”. Embodied cognition, and more recently 4E/4EA cognition, have evolved into a spectrum of diverse research programmes studying the role of the body in cognitive processes. However, one major point emphasised by Varela et al. (1991) has been all too often neglected: the necessity to include a first-person perspective when investigating cognition. Building on the phenomenological tradition, enactivism stresses the constitutive role of the body in subjective experience, in processes of sense-making, learning and thinking, and generally in cognition.

The seminar has two foci:

On the one hand, the main ideas of embodiment and enactivism will be revisited with the help of acquiring a phenomenological vocabulary and viewpoint. Questions such as the following will guide our explorations and discussions: What is a body? What is my body? How do I experience my body? How do I experience the world (through my body)? Am I my body? What is an emotion? Where do I experience it? How do emotions relate to movement? How do I attune to others? How do interpersonal affective dynamics constitute a sense of self and a sense of other?

On the other hand, we aim to explore possible applications of an enactive view on cognition, especially looking at dance and somatic practices, as well as design processes. How do we think in movement? How are we aware of our physical and bodily interactions with our Umwelt/our environment? How does attending to the body and to movement enable possibilities for learning, personal change and development?

Throughout the seminar, our theoretical investigations will be accompanied by movement explorations, which should enable us to experience and explore moving minds and bodies, or the ‘bodymind’ as some call it.
The classes will be collaboratively shaped by students and teachers, including interactive parts/workshops on discussed phenomena, as well as presentations and discussions based on the compulsory literature.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Seminar paper, presentation/workshop, participation in discussions (online and on-site)
Presence in seminar sessions is required.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

Minimum requirements:
- seminar attendance (you can miss one session)
- active participation in discussions (in the seminar and in the discussion forum)
- reading & preparing compulsory literature for each session (posting questions on each text in the discussion forum); 6 reports on compulsory reading following criteria announced online in the moodle course (due: four days prior to the respective session)
- presentation on one of the compulsory readings + interactive part/workshop (individually or in a group - depends on the number of students)
- suggestion for interactive part by 5 April, 2024
- reflection paper (6-8 page): due 16 August, 2024

Assessment Criteria:
- participation in discussions in class and in moodle forum 15%
- 6 reports on literature 30%/points (5 points each)
- presentation 25 %/points
- reflection paper (6-8 pages) 30%/points

%/points | grade
91-100 | sehr gut (1)
81-90 | gut (2)
71-80 | befriedigend (3)
61-70 | genügend (4)
0-60 | nicht genügend (5)

The automated plagiarism check software Turnit in will be used in this course.
* By registering for this course, you agree that the automated plagiarism check software Turnitin will check all written performances submitted by you (in Moodle).


see above


Introduction Session (18.03.2024. 9-13h)
- Varela, F. J., Thompson, E., & Rosh, E. (1991). The Embodied Mind. Cognitive Science and Human Experience. MIT Press. 15-33.
Chapter 2. What do we mean “human experience"?
- Johnson, M. (2007). The Meaning of the Body - Aesthetics of Human Understanding. The University of Chicago Press. ix-xiii; 1-15.
- Preface
- Introduction

Embodiment & Phenomenology (08.04.2024. 9-13h)
- Thompson, E. (2007). Mind in Life. Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind. Harvard University Press. 16-36.
- Chapter 2. The Phenomenological Connection
- Gallagher, S., & Zahavi, D. (2008). The Phenomenological Mind. Routledge. 129-151.
- Chapter 7. The embodied mind

Qualities of Movement (15.04.2024. 9-13h)
- Johnson, M. (2007). The Meaning of the Body - Aesthetics of Human Understanding. The University of Chicago Press. 19-51.
- Chapter 1. Movement of Life
- Chapter 2. Big Babies
- Stern, D. N. (2010). Forms of Vitality. Exploring Dynamic Experience in psychology, the Arts, Psychotherapy, and Development. Oxford University Press. 3-32.
- Chapter 1. Introducing Dynamic “Forms of Vitality”
- Chapter 2. The Nature and Theoretical Framework of Dynamic “Forms of Vitality”

Emotions (13.05.2024. 9-13h)
- Johnson, M. (2007). The Meaning of the Body - Aesthetics of Human Understanding. The University of Chicago Press. 52-85.
- Chapter 3 “Since feeling is first”: Emotional Dimensions of Meaning
- Chapter 4. The Grounding of Meaning in the Qualities of Life
- Stern, D. N. (2010). Forms of Vitality. Exploring Dynamic Experience in psychology, the Arts, Psychotherapy, and Development. Oxford University Press. 33-72.
- Chapter 3. Ideas from Psychology and Behavioral Science
- Chapter 4. Neuroscientific basis of Vitality forms: Arousal systems

Skills and Habit (27.05.2024. 9-13h)
- Barandiaran, X. E., & Di Paolo, E. A. (2014). A genealogical map of the concept of habit. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8 (July), 1–7.
- Dreyfus, H. L. (2004). A phenomenology of Skill Acquisition as the basis for a Merleau-Pontian non-representationalist Cognitive Science. Conference “Foundations and the Ontological Quest.", 1–20.
- Du, Y., Krakauer, J. W., & Haith, A. M. (2022). The relationship between habits and motor skills in humans. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 26 (5), 371–387.

Thinking in Movement (03.06.2024 9-13h)
- Sheets-Johnstone, M. (2009). Thinking in Movement. In: The Corporeal Turn. An Interdisciplinary Reader. Imprint Academic. 28-63.
- Gallagher, S. (2023). Surprise! Why enactivism and predictive processing are parting ways: The case of improvisation. Possibility Studies & Society, 1(3), 269-278.

Phenomenology in Education and Design & Wrap-up (24.06.2024 9-13h)
- Laner, I. (2021). Reflective interventions: Enactivism and phenomenology on ways of bringing the body into intellectual engagement. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 20 (3), 443–461.
- Höök, K., Caramiaux, B., Erkut, C., Forlizzi, J., Hajinejad, N., Haller, M., Tobiasson, H. (2018). Embracing first-person perspectives in soma-based design. Informatics, 5 (1), 1–26.
- Sheets-Johnstone, M. (2015). Embodiment on trial: a phenomenological investigation. Continental Philosophy Review, 48 (1), 23–39.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Do 21.03.2024 13:06