Universität Wien FIND
Warning! The directory is not yet complete and will be amended until the beginning of the term.

180147 SE MEi:CogSci Topic-Seminar (2020S)

Mind the Body!

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Continuous assessment of course work

1.Termin (Vorbesprechung /preparation meeting): Mo 2. März 2020, 11:00
HS 2i d. Inst. f. Philosophie, NIG, 2. Stock


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 06.03. 09:45 - 13:00 Hörsaal 2i NIG 2.Stock
Friday 24.04. 09:45 - 13:00 Hörsaal 2i NIG 2.Stock
Saturday 25.04. 09:45 - 13:00 Hörsaal 2i NIG 2.Stock
Friday 08.05. 08:00 - 14:45 Hörsaal 2i NIG 2.Stock
Friday 05.06. 09:45 - 13:00 Hörsaal 2i NIG 2.Stock
Saturday 06.06. 09:00 - 15:00 Hörsaal 2i NIG 2.Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

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 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 consists of an introduction session (March 6) and three main parts as follows.
In Part I (March 27 & 28), the main ideas of enactivism will be introduced with the help of acquiring a phenomenological vocabulary and viewpoint. 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?
Part II (April 24 & 25) aims to target the intimate ties of affectivity and intersubjectivity. 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?
In Part III (May 8) possible applications of an enactive view on cognition will be explored, especially looking at dance and somatic practices. How do we think in movement? How does attending to the body and to movement enable possibilities for 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.
During Part II and III, the classes will be collaboratively shaped by students and teachers, including interactive parts/workshops and presentations on chosen phenomena, as well as discussions based on the compulsory literature.

Friday, June 5: Overspill

Assessment and permitted materials

Seminar paper, presentation, participation in discussions.
Presence in seminar sessions is required.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Minimum requirements:
- attendance & active participation in the seminar
- reading & preparing compulsory literature for each session; 6 reports on compulsory reading following criteria announced online in the moodle course (due: Mo., March 23 for part I, Mo., April 20 for part II and Mo., May 4 for part III)
- presentation/moderation of a (part of a) session (interactive part + theoretical background based on literature you found) individually or in a group (depends on number of students)
- suggestion for topic/phenomenon by March 27 (presentation concept by April 20)
- reflection paper (6-8 page): due July 19, 2020

Assessment Criteria:
- active participation & 6 reports on literature make 40% of the grade
- presentation 30 %
- reflection paper (6-8 pages) 30%

Examination topics

Reading list

March 6: Introduction session
Compulsory reading:
- Sheets-Johnstone, M. (2015). Embodiment on trial: a phenomenological investigation. Continental Philosophy Review, 48 (1), 23–39.
Further reading:
- Sheets-Johnstone, M. (2009). The Corporeal Turn. An Interdisciplinary Reader. Imprint Academic. Chapter 1. Can the Body Ransom Us?, 17-27.

March 27 & 28: Part I: Enactivism & Phenomenology
Compulsory reading:
- Di Paolo, E., De Jaegher, H., & Rohde, M. (2010). Horizons for the enactive mind: values, social interaction, and play. In Enaction: Towards a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science., 31–87.
- Merleau-Ponty, M. (2014) The Phenomenology of Perception, Preface (Trans. by Landes, D. A.), xix-xxxi
- Thompson, E. (2007) Mind in Life., 3-36.
Chapter 1. Cognitive Science and Human Experience
Chapter 2. The Phenomenological Connection
Further reading:
- Noë, A. (2009). Out of Our Heads. Chapter 1. An Astonishing Hypothesis. 3-24.
- Thompson, E., & Di Paolo, E. A. (2014). The Enactive Approach. In The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition (pp. 68–78).
- Vignemont, F. de (2018) Mind the Body. An Exploration of Bodily Self-Awareness. Introduction. 1-10.
- Ward, D., Silverman, D., & Villalobos, M. (2017). Introduction: The Varieties of Enactivism. Topoi, 36 (3), 365–375.

April 24 & 25: Part II: Affectivity and intersubjectivity
Compulsory reading:
- Colombetti, G. (2017). The Feeling Body. Affective Science meets the Enactive Mind. MIT Press.
Introduction., xii-xviii
1.1 Primordial Affectivity., 1-4
Chapter 5. How the Body Feels in Emotion Experience., 113-134
- Fuchs, T., & Koch, S. C. (2014). Embodied affectivity: on moving and being moved. Frontiers in Psychology, 5 (June), 1–12
- Johnson, M. (2007). The Meaning of the Body. Chapter 3-4., 52-85
Further reading:
- Fuchs, T., & de Jaegher, H. (2009). Enactive intersubjectivity: Participatory sense-making and mutual incorporation. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 8 (4), 465–486.
- Porges, S. W. (2001). The polyvagal theory: phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 42, 123–146.

May 8: Part III: Applications: dance, somatic practices
Compulsory reading:
- Caldwell, C. (2014). Mindfulness & Bodyfulness: A New Paradigm. The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, 1 (1), 77–96.
- Sheets-Johnstone, M. (2009). Thinking in Movement. The Corporeal Turn. An Interdisciplinary Reader. Imprint Academic. (pp. 28–63).
- Vermes, K. (2011). Intersensory and intersubjective attunement: Philosophical approach to a central element of dance movement psychotherapy. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy, 6 (1), 31–42.
Further reading:
- Eddy, M. (2009). A brief history of somatic practices and dance: historical development of the field of somatic education and its relationship to dance. Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, 21 (2), 5–27.
- Legrand, D., & Ravn, S. (2009). Perceiving subjectivity in bodily movement: The case of dancers. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 8 (3), 389–408.
- Merritt, M. (2015). Thinking-is-moving: dance, agency, and a radically enactive mind. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 14 (1), 95–110.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:21