From wide cognition to mechanisms: A silent revolution

Marcin Milkowski, Robert Clowes, Zuzanna Rucinska, Aleksandra Przegalinska, Tadeusz Zawidzki, Joel Krueger, Adam Gies, Marek McGann, Lukasz Afeltowicz, Witold Wachowski, Fredrik Stjernberg, Victor Loughlin, Mateusz Hohol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper, we argue that several recent 'wide' perspectives on cognition (embodied, embedded, extended, enactive, and distributed) are only partially relevant to the study of cognition. While these wide accounts override traditional methodological individualism, the study of cognition has already progressed beyond these proposed perspectives toward building integrated explanations of the mechanisms involved, including not only internal submechanisms but also interactions with others, groups, cognitive artifacts, and their environment. Wide perspectives are essentially research heuristics for building mechanistic explanations. The claim is substantiated with reference to recent developments in the study of "mindreading" and debates on emotions. We argue that the current practice in cognitive (neuro)science has undergone, in effect, a silent mechanistic revolution, and has turned from initial binary oppositions and abstract proposals toward the integration of wide perspectives with the rest of the cognitive (neuro)sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2393
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberDEC
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2018


  • Distributed cognition
  • Embodied cognition
  • Enactivism
  • Extended mind
  • Grounded cognition
  • Mechanistic explanation
  • Scaffolded mind
  • Wide mechanism


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