Epistemology and enactivism

Instead of working together to understand the world, philosophers often discuss issues that are in no way integrated with relevant research, while scientists work on the premise of deeply flawed philosophical assumptions. This separation is driven by the development of highly technical, domain-specific languages which academic institutions encourage. Yet, the process of investigating how the world works and the process of reflecting on the reach of our tools and the meaning of our results cannot be entirely decoupled.

Historically, the recognition that all observable entities exist as elements of a single, causally integrated natural realm has driven the call for unifying research across academic disciplines. Although there is no definitive agreement on the concrete requirements of such a demarch, it can still work as a driving principle for researchers. For exemple, it is especially compelling that the philosophy of knowledge should be grounded on the social and cognitive sciences, and serve to guide the development of further knowledge.

We propose to take the perspective of an agent struggling to enact meaning into a complex and impermanent reality as a central unifying framework in science and its philosophy. All living systems, including scientists and philosophers, must understand their world and act appropriately to maintain their structural identity. We recognise this process of “enaction” or “active inference” as central in driving biological, cognitive, and social dynamics from the level of cells to this of human societies, and work to expose its role at all possible scales.

This article was updated on June 5, 2021