Enactivism, life and intelligence


Part 1: Enactivism – an introduction
Part 2: Life and Enactivism
Part 3: Enactivist Artificial Intelligence

Is our brain an efficient computer or do the foundations of life and consciousness elude any algorithmic description? Enactivism is a new paradigm in the cognitive sciences that thinks cognition beyond the boundaries of an information processor. Neurobiologist Francisco Varela, psychologist Eleanor Rosch and philosopher Evan Thompson laid the foundation for this radical change of perspective in 1991, thereby changing the relationship between brain and consciousness. In my lecture, I give an introduction to the basics of enactivism and show how our mind breaks down the boundaries of the brain. I then discuss new applications of the theory to two central problems of cognitive science: the definition of life and the alleged difference between natural and artificial intelligence. I argue that we are still in the early stages of investigating these phenomena and that we need methods exceeding the possibilities of the analogy of the brain as computer.


Moritz Kriegleder


I am studying physics and cognitive science at the University of Vienna and will start my PhD thesis in the group of Tarja Knuuttila in autumn 2020. In the ERC project “Possible Life: The Philosophical Significance of Extending Biology” I am exploring extensions of the concept of life through quantum biology and enactivism (http://www.possiblelife.eu/). My methods are influenced by information theory, process philosophy and phenomenology. Privately, I am interested in introspection and climate activism and am also an enthusiastic guitarist.