Centrum för kognitiv semiotik (CCS)

Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna | Lunds universitet

The amalgamated mind: Between function and experience

Piotr Konderak, UMCS Lublin

I propose that a rapprochement of the functionalist-cognitivist path and the phenomenological-enactive path should guide future research within cognitive semiotics (Konderak 2018). Consequently, I present and discuss an approach that attempts to reconcile the cognitivist approach to cognition and aspects of “4e cognition”, i.e. embodied, enactive, embedded, extended approaches. Instead of drawing sharp borders between approaches it tries to include as much as possible from standard cognitive science and – simultaneously – to appreciate the phenomenological approach. Specifically, the idea of an “amalgamated mind” as presented by Rowlands (2010) combines information processing, representations, embodiment, agency and intentionality. The guiding idea – in line with the extended approach – is that one cannot close cognitive processes in the skull, and reduce cognitive processes to neural ones. Rejecting Cartesian internalism, Rowlands simultaneously suggests the “reduction” of 4e to 2e (i.e. to embodied and extended). Cognitive processes – in Rowlands’ view – are combinations (amalgams) of neural processes, bodily processes and environmental processes. To avoid the problem of “cognitive bloat” an ownership requirement is introduced: for a process to count as a cognitive one there must be an owner, a subject that has authority over the process.


Konderak, P. (2018). Mind, meaning, semiosis: Ways to cognitive semiotics. Lublin: UMCS Publishing.