Introduction to embodied cognitive science

Course Aim

At the end of this course, students will be able to: describe advantages and disadvantages of the machine metaphor of mind; explain the relationship between action and perception; discuss the uses of embodiment in robotics and artificial life; formulate design principles for cognitive technology; and articulate the various open problems related to consciousness.

Course Description

A textbook-centered introduction to both the history of and state-of-the-art theorizing in embodied cognitive science. Through interactive group discussions, the course will explore key topics such as the machine metaphor of mind, perception and action, robotics and artificial life, cognitive technology, and consciousness. Book chapter selection will be tailored to the interests and backgrounds of the students.

Course Contents

Week 1 – Introduction
Week 2 – The mechanistic worldview
Week 3 – Systems thinking and cybernetics
Week 4 – Sense-making and adaptivity
Week 5 – Participatory sense-making
Week 6 – Coordination dynamics
Week 7 – Sensorimotor interaction theory
Week 8 – International Conference on Embodied Cognitive Science 2022: Interaction Matters
Week 9 – Sensory substitution
Week 10 – Interpersonal synergies
Week 11 – The interactive brain hypothesis
Week 12 – The body social
Week 13 – An enactive approach to psychiatry
Week 14 – Habits and normativity


The course will be assessed on a Pass/fail basis based on attendance (50%) and participation (50%). Pass threshold is 70% or above. The weekly format comprises two separate classes. The first class consists in group debates of the key ideas of a chapter of Mindware by Andy Clark. Students are expected to prepare by reading the chapter in advance. In preparation for the second class, students select and read one of the chapter’s Suggested Readings from the book, or from its accompanying OUP website, or from some other relevant academic resource. During the second class, students will share what they learned by giving small presentations to the rest of the group followed by discussion.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

For this course, a basis in cognitive science (any discipline) is highly advantageous. Due to the highly interactive and group-based nature of the course, the number of students is limited to 9 and preference will be given to students with a background in one of the disciplines that form the cognitive sciences.

Please consult with Prof Froese before enrolling.


Mindware (Second Edition), Andy Clark, Oxford University Press


Enrollment cap of 9

Research Specialties