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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 11 reviews
on December 21, 2010
Shapiro is a philosopher writing with outstanding knowledge on the subject. Embodiment is an extreme hot topic in modern cognitive science and Shapiro presents a most valuable introduction of the development in the field beginning with a presentation of what he calls "standard cognitive science". This "standard" version presented human cognition as computer metaphor suggesting there were a "general problem solver" (GPS) in our mind. The aim of standard cognitive science was seen then as reconstruction of the logic of GPS. Shapiro shows how this view produced unsolved problems which can better be approached by extension of the mind: The mind which is thought of to inhabit the brain is now seen as including a whole body. An old sentence by Sigmund Freud seems to become true that the Ego be mainly embodied. In the book no reference to psychoanalysis is made. Nevertheless sometimes one finds these seemingly outdated references of value. What gifted scholars formulated a century ago sometimes is validated a century later - but with enormous gain in detail. Shapiro shows that "embodiment" is not a spiritual movement, as many thought. Embodiment is in the best sense a scientific endeavour and who ever wants to learn about some very interesting details of this development should read the well written book. It' a "must read" for all cognitive researchers at least for one reason: as Shapiro feels obliged to analyze the constraints of the new paradigm which he promotes so fairly. You leave reading the book feeling a little bit more cognitive without being impovered in emotional enthusiasm.
Michael B. Buchholz
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on January 9, 2012
This book has been something for which I have been waiting for quite some time. Shapiro gives an excellent overview of the history of cognitive science, beginning with the "standard cognitive science," often referred to informational processing theory of computationalism. This viewpoint sees the mind as a computer - the mind manipulates symbolic representations acquired from your perception and based on some algorithm, it produces behavior. Of course, this view not only fit the zeitgeist of the late 50s/early 60s and the computer revolution, but it was also pretty "sexy" to think that way. Even in its beginning, this view had some critics, including Gibson's famous rebuttal with the field of Ecological Psychology: perception is for action.

Shapiro gives an excellent overview of the recent move away from computationalism towards the idea of embodied cognition. Simply put, embodied cognition implies that cognition does not occur only "in the head," but is rather a process emerging from the dynamic interplay between brain, body, and world. Of course, different theorists approach this idea in different ways, producing various "flavors" of embodied cognition which Shapiro summarizes and critiques. Anyone interested in embodied cognition and anyone dissatisfied with the [outdated] model of information processing theory needs to read this book.

There are, of course, several downsides. First, I think Shapiro could have done a more thorough job of critiquing information processing theory and laying out the theoretical groundwork for embodied cognition. He went into some detail, but it was not too satisfactory in my opinion (though still very good). Second, he does not provide a global definition of what it means to have embodied cognition - as far as I know, no theorist has been able to provide it, hence the "flavors" of this theoretical umbrella. Providing such a global definition is no easy feat, of course, but I think any attempt would have been helpful to move towards a global view of what it means to be embodied.

Sum: great book, great read
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on May 12, 2015
Great overview of topic!
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on November 29, 2015
Great intro book.
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on August 4, 2014
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on August 9, 2013
The book is worth reading it if you want to have a general idea of this new approach to cognition.
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on October 12, 2010
Great book, really covers the background of embodied cognition. The writing style is clear and provides many opportunities for further reading. Would work well for a seminar reading if you are just introducing the subject of embodied cognition.
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on January 10, 2013
Purchased this book as a gift for a friend who is a proponent of embodied cognition. She used it as a reference text for a paper, so I can'[t say how interesting this would be as a casual read. I'm sure it's intended as a textbook.
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