What is the future for tool-specific generalized motor programs?
A key issue in cognitive sciences is to understand the cognitive bases of human tool use. Answers have been provided by two competing approaches. The manipulation-based approach assumes that humans can use tools because of the ability to store sensorimotor knowledge about how to manipulate tools. By contrast, for the reasoning-based approach, human tool use is based on the ability to reason about physical object properties. Recently, Caruana and Cuccio proposed a kind of reconciliation, based on the distinction between three types of abductive inference, involving a different contribution of motor and cognitive elements: Automatic abduction (motor + and cognitive-), abduction by selection (motor ± and cognitive±) and creative abduction (motor- and cognitive+). This perspective offers new interesting avenues. Nevertheless, it is also subject to several theoretical and epistemological limitations, which make it in its present form inappropriate for the study of the cognitive bases of human tool use. This article aims to discuss these limitations.
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Osiurak François (2017). What is the future for tool-specific generalized motor programs?. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (4), pp. 701-708.