【I-Jan Wang and Ying-Tung Lin】A Talk on the Conference of the Science and Philosophy of Imagination at University of Bristol

Graduate Student I-Jan Wang and his supervisor professor Ying-Tung Lin attended a conference held by the University of Bristol on 15th, September 2021:
The science and philosophy of imagination, and have the honor to give a talk. The subject and abstract of the talk are below.

Simulated embodiment: how simulated movement/interaction constrain cognition


Based on the general framework of embodied cognition, according to which the physical body plays an important role in cognition, researchers have studied how physical movement/interaction shapes cognition. What’s the ontology of the role is still under debate. For a strong version of embodied cognition, it is a constitutive one; for a weak version, it is solely causal. However, in recent behavioral studies, it is revealed that besides physical movement/interaction, simulated movement/interaction in an imagining without being explicitly performed onto the physical world can make an impact on cognitive performance as well.

With a focus on physical embodiment, the role of simulated movement/interaction has not been properly addressed by the existing literature in philosophy of mind. This paper argues that simulated movement/interaction can shape cognition with examination on empirical studies of motor imagery and imaginary practices. Furthermore, even though in neurological studies it is shown that physical movement/interaction shares (nearly) the same neurological system with simulated movement/interaction, we argue against the reducibility of such simulated embodiment to physical embodiment by indicating its exclusive feature in its impact on cognitive performance. Surprisingly, in a reverse way, it is nonetheless possible that physical embodiment can be reduced to simulated embodiment. The paper ends with a preliminary examination on the compatibility of weak and strong embodiment with simluated embodiment respectively.