What Mindedness Is


  • Michael L. Anderson


Recent advances in theoretical cognitive science can be fruitfully characterized as part of the ongoing attempt to come to grips with the very idea of homo sapiens—an entity at once biological and intelligent—and among the more striking developments has been the emergence of a philosophical anthropology that, contra Descartes and his thinking thing, instead puts doing at the center of human being. This shift to a more “enactive” understanding of human nature is owed proximally to the work of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, but also has clear precursors in such figures as William James and Hegel—and more specifically Marx and Marxist interpreters of Hegel such as Kojève. Naturally, Darwin must be considered as central as any philosopher, and many of the recent developments also echo the Aristotelian sense that being-at-work is the primary way of being anything at all.