Luis H. H. Favela, "The Ecological Brain: Unifying the Sciences of Brain, Body, and Environment" (Routledge, 2024)


Ecological psychology holds that perception and action are best explained in terms of dynamic interactions between brain, body, and environment, not in classical cognitivist terms of the manipulation of representations in the head. This anti-representationalist stance, argues Luis Favela, makes ecological psychology deeply at odds with dominant trends in some parts of neuroscience. 

In The Ecological Brain: Unifying the Sciences of Brain, Body, and Environment (Routledge, 2024), Favela lays out the seemingly irreconciliable theoretical commitments of ecological psychology and neuroscience, and then defends a framework for reconciling them: the NeuroEcological Nexus Theory (NExT). According to Favela, who is an associate professor of philosophy and cognitive sciences at the University of Central Florida, complexity science provides the conceptual tools that can help integrate these frameworks, such as by articulating the key notion of affordances in ecological psychology as a kind of dimensional reduction in complexity science.

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Carrie Figdor

Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.

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