One of the speakers at the What Is Life symposium taking place between the 24th and 25th November 2023 is going to be Konrad Werner, a philosopher based at the University of Warsaw, Poland. His research spans diverse areas, including philosophy of perception, philosophy of mind, and applied ontology. He is the author of the book “The Embodied Philosopher,” published in 2022. He earned his PhD from Jagiellonian University in Kraków in 2013 under the supervision of Jerzy Perzanowski and Jozef Bremer. In 2023, he obtained habilitation in philosophy from the University of Warsaw.
In his work, he has among other topics dealt with cognitive niches. In “Enactment and construction of the cognitive niche: toward an ontology of the mind-world connection”, he explores the concept of the cognitive niche and distinguishes it from the metabolic niche, drawing on enactivist ideas, particularly those of Varela, Thompson, and Rosh. From the abstract:
The paper discusses the concept of the cognitive niche and distinguishes the latter from the metabolic niche. By using these posits I unpack certain ideas that are crucial for the enactivist movement, especially for its original formulation proposed by Varela, Thompson and Rosh. Drawing on the ontology of location, boundaries, and parthood, I argue that enacting the world can be seen as the process of cognitive niche construction. Moreover, it turns out that enactivism—as seen through the lens of the conceptual framework proposed in the paper—considers cognition as a kind of connection between the subject and the world. This post is pointed to as the key idea laid down in enactivism.