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Embodiment, in cognitive science and some branches of biology and ecology, is the way in which human psychology arises from the brain's and body's physiology. It is specifically concerned with the way the adaptive function of categorization[?] works, and how things acquire names. It is distinguished from developmental psychology and physical anthropology by its focus on ontogeny, ontogenetics[?], chaos theory and cognitive notions of entropy - far more abstract and more reliant on mathematics.

philosophy of embodiment

Some consider such a reduction to mathematics, or alternatively an attempt to explain mathematics (as in the cognitive science of mathematics), to be at best premature. Critics of embodiment argue that there is no one process by which the brain and linguistic and categorization categories bind to things in the environment, be they ecological or social. Thus no one model could exist.

However, the ambitious and integrative programs continue, on every scale from perception of mothers by children, to perception of the home planet by an intelligent species - Gaia theory.

The political ramifications of some of these points of view are extreme, as they imply both psychological and political notions of environmentalism - in effect, if embodiment is valid as an idea, then a single process may binds the mind to its body, family, language, and ultimately even to its society, species, and planet. This would provide an alternative and probably radical view of physics, mathematics, ethics and cosmology. Those who accepted some limited biological aspects of it as 'useful theory' would find it hard to argue with more general application of it as a political or moral principle - exactly as happened with evolution.

Another concern is that embodiment theory simply reiterates ideas from behaviorism and sociobiology, combining them with theories of massive neural networks[?] and society of mind[?] from computer science. It does to a degree treat ecology and environment as a homunculus[?], and assumes that these are beyond direct human investigation, and certainly beyond more than a very dilute control.

This in turn can offend those who believe in human dignity[?] or the ongoing human control of Earth after a technological singularity. Embodiment theory tends to contradict many common understandings of humanism including not least that of free will. Defenders however point out that free will itself is not so compatible with real life on a planet with many incalculable forces:

If an unknowable process guides our conceptual development as a whole, starting with our neural structure, then our impressions of our family, then our home, then our local ecology and society, can we knowing that all of these are affected by global processes really feel in control of ourselves?

key ideas

Key ideas applied in embodiment theory are:

External links

1995 Summary of Embodiment - mentions most key theorists of the physiology (http://www.univie.ac.at/zoologie/theo/ludwig/EC95/Embodiment.htm)

The_Embodiment - cultural implications (http://yahoogroups.com/group/the-embodiment)

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