Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Embodying rationality

Mastrogiorgio, Antonio and Petracca, Enrico (2016): Embodying rationality. Published in: Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology: Logical, Epistemological and Cognitive Issues (July 2016): pp. 219-237.

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The current notions of bounded rationality in economics share distinctive features with Simon’s original notion, which still influences the theoretical and experimental research in the fields of choice, judgment, decision making, problem solving, and social cognition. All these notions of bounded rationality are in fact equally rooted in the information-processing approach to human cognition, expressing the view that reasoning is disembodied and that it can be reduced to the processing of abstract symbolic representations of the environment. This is in contrast with the last three-decade advancements in cognitive psychology, where a new view on human cognition has emerged under the general label of ‘embodied cognition’, demonstrating that cognition and reasoning are grounded in the morphological traits of the human body and the sensory-motor system. In this paper we argue that embodied cognition might reform the current notions of bounded rationality and we propose a number of arguments devoted to outline a novel program of research under the label of ‘embodied rationality’: (1) reasoning is situated as it arises from the ongoing interaction between the subject and the environment; (2) reasoning, not being exclusively a mental phenomenon, constitutively relies on the physical resources provided by the environment; (3) the sensory-motor system provides the building blocks for abstract reasoning, (4) automatic thinking is rooted in the evolutionary coupling between the morphological traits of the human body and the environment.

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