Situating Mental Depth

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Is the mind flat? Chater (2018) has recently argued that it is and that, contrary to tradi-tional psychology and standard folk image, depth of mind is just an illusory confabula-tion. In this paper, we argue that while there is a kernel of something correct in Chater’s thesis, this does not in itself add up to a critique of mental depth per se. We use Chater’s ideas as a springboard for creating a new understanding of mental depth which builds upon findings in contemporary cognitive science. First, we rely on the predictive pro-cessing framework in order to determine a proposed neural contribution to mental depth, specifically in hierarchical predictive knowledge. Second, drawing from an em-bodied approach to cognition, we argue that mental depth results from the depth of our embodied skills and the situations in which we are embedded. This allows us to intro-duce to a new realist notion of mental depth, one which can only be explained once we attend to the dense patterns of skillful interaction within a rich artefactual and social environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Embodied cognition
  • Illusionism
  • Mental depth
  • Predictive processing
  • Skill refinement
  • Skills


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