Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Philosophy

Editor-in-Chief: Harman, Graham

Covered by:
DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Walking as Intelligent Enactment: A New Realist Approach

Adam Lovasz
Published Online: 2019-01-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2019-0006


Walking is an activity that always unfolds within a certain landscape. Tim Ingold has used the notion of “taskscape” to denote pragmatic uses of terrain. Whilst walking, we come to intersect with a variety of taskscapes. As Julia Tanney has highlighted, formal language can only get us so far when thinking about spontaneous, non-theoretical and non-representational activities. Borrowing Gilbert Ryle’s distinction between “knowing that” and knowing how”, I argue for a concept of walking that does not privilege intentions. When somebody walks, they melt into a taskscape not entirely of their own design. Mind is inherently ecological. It is enacted within a certain ecology, and is actually inseparable from its environment. Mind is the sum of intelligent enactments. According to the position I seek to advance in this article, walking may be approached in an object-oriented manner. Each form of behavior composes an enactment that meshes with a certain ecology, what W. Teed Rockwell has called a “behavioral field.” Mind is the inherently relational enactment of a set of behavioral dispositions which are always already enmeshed within a field. When these dispositions enter what, following Markus Gabriel, may be called “fields of sense”, mind and walking become independent objects in their own right.

Keywords: ecology; enactivism; mind; ontology; pragmatism; realism; taskscape; walking


  • Barad, Karen. Meeting the Universe Halfway. Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2007.Google Scholar

  • Gabriel, Markus. Fields of Sense. A New Realist Ontology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.Google Scholar

  • Ingold, Tim. “The temporality of the landscape.” World Archaeology 25.2 (1993): 152-174.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kyselo, Miriam. “The body social: an enactive approach to the self.” Frontiers in Psychology 5 (2014), 1-16.Google Scholar

  • Lin, Chien-Te. „A Buddhist Take on Gilbert Ryle’s Theory of Mind.” Asian Philosophy 24.2 (2014): 178-196.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Lovasz, Adam. The System of Absentology in Ontological Philosophy. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.Google Scholar

  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith. New York and London: Routledge, 2005 [1962].Google Scholar

  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. The Visible and the Invisible, trans. Alphonso Lingis. Evanston: Northwestern University, 1968.Google Scholar

  • Rockwell, W. Teed. Neither Brain nor Ghost. A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press, 2005.Google Scholar

  • Ryle, Gilbert. The Concept of Mind. London and New York: Routledge, 2002 [1949].Google Scholar

  • Ryle, Gilbert. “Pleasure.” Collected Papers Volume 2. Collected Essays 1929-1968. Ed. Julia Tanney. London and New York: Routledge, 2009 [1971], 339-349.Google Scholar

  • Ryle, Gilbert. “Sensation.” Collected Papers Volume 2. Collected Essays 1929-1968. Ed. Julia Tanney. London and New York: Routledge, 2009 [1971], 349-363.Google Scholar

  • Schrader, Astrid. “Responding to pfiesteria piscicida (the fish killer) phantomatic ontologies, indeterminacy, and responsibility in toxic microbiology.” Social Studies of Science 40.2 (2010): 275-306.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Skrbina, David. Panpsychism in the West. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2005.Google Scholar

  • Sparrow, Tom. The End of Phenomenology. Metaphysics and the New Realism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.Google Scholar

  • Staletovich, Jenny. “Dead fish, birds, manatees, even a whale shark. Toll from worst red tide in decade grows.” 31 July 2018, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article215839815.html, accessed 4 August 2018.Google Scholar

  • Tanney, Julia. “Remarks on the ‘thickness’ of action description: with Wittgenstein, Ryle, and Anscombe.” Philosophical Explorations 21.1 (2018), 170-177.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Received: 2018-08-11

Accepted: 2018-12-20

Published Online: 2019-01-18

Published in Print: 2019-01-01

Citation Information: Open Philosophy, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 49–58, ISSN (Online) 2543-8875, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2019-0006.

Export Citation

© by Adam Lovasz, published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in