Theory and Philosophy network seminar: From enaction to education

Title: From Enaction to Education

Thursday 24th February 2022,
Time: 4pm-5.30pm.
Host: The SERA Theory and Philosophy of Education Network
Presenter: Dr Mog Stapleton


Over the last thirty years philosophers of mind and cognition have been steadily moving away from the assumption that minds are ‘in the head’ and towards understanding cognition as embodied, embedded, enactive, and (potentially) extended (the so-called ‘4Es’). What this means is that the environment, activity, and intersubjective interactions are taken seriously as being potentially constitutive factors in cognitive processes. In this talk, I will outline one way in which this may be particularly relevant to education by connecting it to Jack Mezirow’s work on transformative learning. I will discuss a project taking philosophy into Scottish prisons which used a pedagogical framework that is highly ritualised and argue that the approach that the ritual forces participants to take, helps to enable perspective transformations. And, I will outline where I think the enactive approach can contribute to understanding the kinds of educational changes we want to see in ourselves and those we teach.


Mog Stapleton did her PhD in philosophy of cognitive science at the University of Edinburgh. She is co-editor in chief of the journal Cognitive Systems Research, a visiting researcher in Philosophy at East China Normal University, and soon to be a visiting researcher in embodied cognition at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. Her background is in embodied and affective cognition and more recently she has also been studying classical Chinese philosophy. While doing a postdoc at Edinburgh between 2017 and 2019 she participated in philosophy in prisons projects at Edinburgh and set up new collaborations with the local prison. She is currently drawing on these experiences to work on understanding the effective contributions of embodiment and enaction to education.

Sign up for this event via this Eventbrite link.

Relevant publications: 

Stapleton, Mog (2021). Enacting education. Phenom Cogn Sci 20, 887–913.

Stapleton, Mog (2022). Enacting Environments: From Umwelts to Institutions. In Karyn Lai (ed.), Knowers and Knowledge in East-West Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham: pp. 159-189.

Stapleton, Mog & Ward, Dave (2021). Transaction or Transformation: Why do Philosophy in Prisons? Journal of Prison Education and Reentry 7 (2):214-226.

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