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Nancy Salay

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and School of Computing
Editor, Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review

I am an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department and School of Computing at Queen’s University, Canada, specialising in Philosophy of Cognitive Science with a focus on language and representation. My work over the past ten years has been informed by key insights in the embodied cognitive science tradition.These ideas are currently finding expression in a book, A Pragmatic Account of Cognition: Rethinking Externalism and Intentionality, due for completion in 2023. In it I advance a theory of cognition that challenges the view that human cognition is grounded in a biologically fundamental capacity for representation. I argue that this reductive internalist picture is mistaken, misguided, and ultimately misguiding and in its stead, I advocate for a version of externalism on which perception is not a representational process and on which representation use is a learned skill.

In my other professional role, I am Anglophone Editor of Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review, an established, generalist journal of philosophy. Recently, my coleagues and I have launched a new series, Project Babel Fish, in which we print a paper in English alongside a version in the author’s native language. We intend to continue this each year, offering selected authors the opportunity to have their work translated by our team to the extent of our ability. We hope that this initiative will foster dialogue between diverse philosophical communities.

A few years back I founded ESC (Embodiment, Systems, and Complexity), an inter-disciplinary research institute of embodied cognition, with the hope that it would become an inter-discplinary hub and resource for current papers in the field. Unfortunately work on it generally falls to the very bottom of my todo list and so it hasn't changed much since then, but one day .... In the meantime, I encourage people who are interested in embodied, enactive ideas to subscribe, add a post, or let us know about interesting events or papers.

In my personal life, I have a daily meditation practice that has deepened over the past five years thanks to insights from a range of virtual mentors including Pema Chödrön and her mentor, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and more recently and fruitfully, Ajahn Succito, a Buddhist monk in the Theravadan tradition. DharmaSeed is a font of meditation resources for anyone wishing to give it a more serious go.