A key challenge for the enactive approach is to further develop concepts and hypotheses, and to continue to articulate them in ways that make contact with other frameworks. In this way, concepts like participatory sense-making can be articulated into domain-specific claims, hypotheses, and explanations that relate to conceptions of meaning, as they vary between relevant disciplines.
In this talk, I will present one such recent development of participatory sense-making, in connection with neuroscience. A few years ago, Ezequiel Di Paolo and I developed the Interactive Brain Hypothesis, which conjectures that social neural functioning is in part shaped by interaction processes. We recently had a dialogue with Ralph Adolphs about this, focusing on the question of what can the IBH mean for social neuroscience?
Here, I will present this dialogue. Whereas mainstream social neuroscience views social cognition as arising solely from events in the brain, the IBH argues that social cognition requires in addition causal relations between the brain and the social environment. We discuss, in turn, the foundational claims for the IBH in its strongest form; classical views of cognition that can be raised against the IBH; a defense of the IBH in light of these arguments; and a response to this. Our goal is not to settle the issues or to iron out wider conceptual disagreements once and for all, but to progress, if not to a final common ground, then at least to some useful inroads into it. Thus, we initiate a dialogue between cognitive neuroscience and enactive views of social cognition. We conclude by suggesting some new directions and emphases that social neuroscience might take.
This dialogue first started at a conference in Helsinki on Attending and Neglecting People, and is forthcoming in Philosophical Transactions B, in a special issue on "Perceiving and neglecting other people: social interaction from brain to society," edited by Riitta Hari.
The interactive brain hypothesis (Ezequiel Di Paolo and Hanne De Jaegher)