Enactivism: [Description] [Math Ed] [Reading list]

Enactivism Readings

Works by people who call themselves enactivists

Assembled by David A. Reid

Bateson, G. (1987). Men are grass: Metaphor and the world of mental process. In W. Thompson (Ed.), Gaia: A way of knowing. (pp. 37-47). Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press.

Maturana H. & Varela, F. (1980) Autopoesis and cognition: The realization of the living. (Boston: D. Reidel. [This is a difficult read, and not recommended until after The Embodied Mind and Tree of Knowledge have been read.]

Maturana, H. & Varela, F. (1992). The Tree of Knowledge: The biological roots of human understanding. (revised edition) Boston & London: Shamabala. (Originally published in 1987 by New Science Library, Boston.) [Perhaps the best first book to read on enactivism]

Maturana, H. (1987). Everything said is said by an observer. In W. Thompson (Ed.), Gaia: A way of knowing. (pp. 65-82). Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press.

Varela, F. (1987). Laying down a path in walking. In W. Thompson (Ed.), Gaia: A way of knowing. (pp. 48-64). Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press.

Varela, F., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1991). The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. [Another possible first book to read, but I think Tree of Knowledge is easier.]

Works by people whom Varela calls enactivists

Bruner, J. (1986) Actual Minds, Possible Worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

 Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of meaning. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Holland, J., Holyoak, K., Nisbett, R., & Thagard, R. (1986). Induction: Processes of inference, learning, and discovery. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Johnson, M. (1987). The body in the mind: The bodily basis of meaning, imagination, and reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980) Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lakoff, G. (1987) Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

 Lakoff, G. (1988) Cognitive semantics. In Meaning and Mental Representations, U. Eco et al. (Eds.) Bloomington: Indiana University Press

 Piaget's later work. [Varela seems not to make the distinction we do between constructivism and enactivism]

 Rorty's work.

Other related works

Belenky, M., Clinchy, B., Goldberger, N., & Tarule, J. (1986) Women's Way's of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind. Basic Books. [Not enactivist per se, but important to read anyway.]

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962) Phenomenology of perception. Trans. Colin Smith. London: Rouledge & Kegan Paul. [Some claim that Merleau-Ponty is way ahead of us on enactivism]

 Davis, B. (1993). Towards an ecological view of mathematics education. Paper presented at the meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, Ottawa. [This is Brent Davis, a former student here, whose ecological approach, based on enactivism a nd especially Bateson's work, is an important contribution to MathEd. His dissertation contains these ideas at more length.]

Kauffman, S. (1993). The origins of order: Self-organization and selection in evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Some (like me) claim that complexity is the mathematics of enactivism. This is the most mathematical o f the recent works on complexity, and deals with the co-emergence of higher order behaviors in co-evolving organisms.]

Kieren, T., Gordon-Calvert, L., Reid, D. & Simmt, E.(1995). An enactivist research approach to mathematical activity: Understanding, reasoning, and beliefs. Paper presented at the meeting of the Ame rican Educational Research Association, San Francisco.

 Minsky, M. (1986) Society of Mind. New York: Simon & Shuster. [Varela divides CogSci into cognitivsm, emergent models, and enactivism. Minsky is a key author on emergent models.]

Vygotsky, L. (1986) Thought and Language. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Waldrop, M. (1992). Complexity: The emerging science at the edge of order and chaos. New York: Touchstone.

Wittgenstein, L. (1958). Philosophical investigations. (G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. [Wittgenstein seems to me to have figured out enactivism a while ago.]

This page maintained by David A. Reid.

Email: david.reid@acadiau.ca

Enactivism: [Description] [Math Ed] [Reading list]