CFP: Varieties of Enactivism: A Conceptual Geography
4th April 2014, Goldsmiths, London, UK

A one day symposium taking place as part of the 2014 convention of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (the AISB), 1st – 4th April 2014

Keynote speakers

Xabier Barandiaran (University of the Basque Country)

Daniel Hutto (University of Wollongong / University of Hertfordshire)

J. Kevin O’Regan and Jan Degenaar (Université Paris Descartes)

Michael Wheeler (University of Stirling)

Deadline for submissions: 14th January 2014

See below for submission guidelines


In its best established guise, enactivism is an approach to cognition that challenges mainstream cognitive science by rejecting internal representation and ascribing a central role, instead, to the biological autonomy of cognitive agents and their ability to “make sense” of the world. The approach originates with Varela, Thompson and Rosch’s (1991) book The Embodied Mind and has roots in earlier work on autopoiesis and phenomenology. From these origins, the canonical position has been developed and enriched in different ways by Varela, Di Paolo, Thompson and others. All assign an important role to the notion of autopoiesis.

In recent years, the ‘enactivism’ label has, more liberally, been applied to accounts that ignore or downplay autopoiesis but share the original theory’s emphasis, in place of internal representation, on environmentally-situated bodily coupling. One such theory is the enactive or sensorimotor account of perception, given perhaps its canonical statement by O’Regan and Noë (2001), and building on important work by Hurley (1998). More recent still is the ‘radical enactivism’ of Hutto and Myin (2013), which has just been given its first book-length statement.

About the symposium

“Varieties of enactivism: A conceptual geography” will chart this conceptual terrain. The symposium aims to clarify the key conceptual boundaries that hold both between different kinds of enactivism, and between enactivism and neighbouring accounts in embodied cognitive science. In the process, it aims to find out whether ‘enactivism’, as the term is used, denotes no more than a motley, or whether, alternatively, there is some minimal framework that might unify enactivist accounts while usefully distinguishing them from neighbouring approaches.

Up-to-date information is available from the symposium web page here at


We are looking for high quality submissions that closely reflect the stated aim of the symposium. The intended outcome is to publish the conference proceedings as a special issue, which will serve as a unique and valuable resource for anyone seeking greater clarity given the recent upspringing of diverse accounts bearing the enactivist name.

Talks will be 30 minutes long, but to facilitate eventual publication, submissions should take the form of papers of 6,000 – 8,000 words.

Papers should be formatted using the Word or LaTeX templates available here.

They should be submitted for review via EasyChair at the following URL:

EXTENDED DEADLINE: 14th January 2014

We aim to notify you of the outcome by 7th February 2014

Please direct any questions about the symposium or your submission to the organising committee:

David Silverman (University of Stirling): Email
Mario Villalobos (University of Edinburgh): Email
Dave Ward (University of Edinburgh): Email

Supported by the Mind Association


AISB-50, a convention commemorating both 50 years since the founding of the society for the study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (the AISB) and sixty years since the death of Alan Turing, founding father of both Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, will be held at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK from the 1st to the 4th April 2014.