The Pragmatic Turn

From Strüngmann Forum Reports

The Pragmatic Turn

Toward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science

Edited by Andreas K. Engel, Karl J. Friston and Danica Kragic

Experts from a range of disciplines assess the foundations and implications of a novel action-oriented view of cognition.





Experts from a range of disciplines assess the foundations and implications of a novel action-oriented view of cognition.

Cognitive science is experiencing a pragmatic turn away from the traditional representation-centered framework toward a view that focuses on understanding cognition as “enactive.” This enactive view holds that cognition does not produce models of the world but rather subserves action as it is grounded in sensorimotor skills. In this volume, experts from cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology, robotics, and philosophy of mind assess the foundations and implications of a novel action-oriented view of cognition.

Their contributions and supporting experimental evidence show that an enactive approach to cognitive science enables strong conceptual advances, and the chapters explore key concepts for this new model of cognition. The contributors discuss the implications of an enactive approach for cognitive development; action-oriented models of cognitive processing; action-oriented understandings of consciousness and experience; and the accompanying paradigm shifts in the fields of philosophy, brain science, robotics, and psychology.

ContributorsMoshe Bar, Lawrence W. Barsalov, Olaf Blanke, Jeannette Bohg, Martin V. Butz, Peter F. Dominey, Andreas K. Engel, Judith M. Ford, Karl J. Friston, Chris D. Frith, Shaun Gallagher, Antonia Hamilton, Tobias Heed, Cecilia Heyes, Elisabeth Hill, Matej Hoffmann, Jakob Hohwy, Bernhard Hommel, Atsushi Iriki, Pierre Jacob, Henrik Jörntell, Jürgen Jost, James Kilner, Günther Knoblich, Peter König, Danica Kragic, Miriam Kyselo, Alexander Maye, Marek McGann, Richard Menary, Thomas Metzinger, Ezequiel Morsella, Saskia Nagel, Kevin J. O'Regan, Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, Giovanni Pezzulo, Tony J. Prescott, Wolfgang Prinz, Friedemann Pulvermüller, Robert Rupert, Marti Sanchez-Fibla, Andrew Schwartz, Anil K. Seth, Vicky Southgate, Antonella Tramacere, John K. Tsotsos, Paul F. M. J. Verschure, Gabriella Vigliocco, Gottfried Vosgerau


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262034326 432 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262545778 432 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


Andreas K. Engel

Andreas K. Engel is Professor of Physiology and Head of the Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

Karl J. Friston

Karl J. Friston is Scientific Director of the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging and Professor at Queen Square Institute of Neurology at University College London.

Danica Kragic

Danica Kragic is Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Autonomous Systems at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.


  • This exciting book provides a coherent framework for an action-oriented view of cognition. By synthesizing recent advances with historical perspectives, it provides an exciting and often provocative perspective for those seeking to understand the workings of the brain.

    Daniel Wolpert

    Professor of Engineering, University of Cambridge

  • The Pragmatic Turn promises to be a landmark in the rapidly developing science of mind and human experience. Bringing together some of the brightest and the best in this rapidly changing field, Engel, Friston, and Kragic challenge us to rethink the place of action in theories of the mental. The pragmatic turn is one of the major shifts in thought about the mind in recent years; The Pragmatic Turn would serve scholars at all levels, and in a wide range of fields such as psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and philosophy, and is sure to be read and argued about for years to come.

    Alva Noë

    Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley, and the author, most recently, of Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

  • This volume pushes the boundaries of cutting-edge work on the pragmatic turn. It is no mere collection of papers, but offers quality research from worldwide experts in a systematic and cohesive way.

    Rick Grush

    Professor of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego

  • Biological brains are devices for selecting the right action at the right time. Such an 'action-oriented' perspective has major implications for the shape and nature of a mature science of the embodied mind. This groundbreaking volume explores those implications from an impressive variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, including philosophy, robotics, and cognitive and computational neuroscience. A wonderful collection, and essential reading for everyone interested in contemporary thinking about mind and action.

    Andy Clark FBA, FRSE

    Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, University of Edinburgh