27th September, 2023
|Session 1 – Chapter 7: The Cartesian Anxiety||Dr Sebastjan Vörös|
11th October, 2023
|Session 2 – Chapter 8: Enaction: Embodied Cognition||Dr Valérie Bonnardel|
25th October, 2023
|Session 3 – Chapter 9: Symbols: Evolutionary Path Making and Natural Drift||Dr Ezequiel Di Paolo|
|17:00 CET (!)|
8th November, 2023
|Session 4 – Chapter 10: The Middle Way||Dr Jay Garfield|
22nd November, 2023
|Session 5 – Chapter 11: Laying Down a Path in Walking||Roshi Dr Joan Halifax|
6th December, 2023
|Session 6 – Concluding discussion||Dr Evan Thompson and fellow guest speakers|
Session 1 – Chapter 7: The Cartesian Anxiety
In his talk, Dr Vörös will delve into Chapter VII of The Embodied Mind, intriguingly titled “The Cartesian Anxiety”. This short and almost deceptively simple chapter plays a pivotal role in the book, as it marks the transition from the first, and more critical part, in which the authors outline the general framework of their narrative and highlight the shortcomings of opposing views, to the second, and more constructive part, in which they provide a positive account of their own perspective. The reason why this chapter is so significant is because it hints at the multilayered nature of their positive account: the latter, according to the authors, is not only intended as an alternative scientific (theoretical) model but also as a more general, all-encompassing existential stance towards the world and others. Put differently, Varela, Thompson and Rosch try to bring our attention to the existential roots of the theoretical views they are critiquing, arguing that they originate in a deep-seated anxiety and grasping for firm, secure foundations (both epistemic and epistemological).
In his talk, Dr Vörös will begin by summarising some of the main points laid down during the previous presentations, thus situating the chapter within the book’s overall framework. Then, he will flesh out the three central thematic clusters of the chapter: the notion of representation; the Cartesian anxiety; and the (preliminary) steps to a middle way. Finally, he will offer some tentative pointers for how these ideas will be further developed in the remainder of the book.