The Hand, an Organ of the Mind

The Hand, an Organ of the Mind

What the Manual Tells the Mental

Edited by Zdravko Radman

Theoretical and empirical accounts of the interconnectedness between the manual and the mental suggest that the hand can be understood as a cognitive instrument.





Theoretical and empirical accounts of the interconnectedness between the manual and the mental suggest that the hand can be understood as a cognitive instrument.

Cartesian-inspired dualism enforces a theoretical distinction between the motor and the cognitive and locates the mental exclusively in the head. This collection, focusing on the hand, challenges this dichotomy, offering theoretical and empirical perspectives on the interconnectedness and interdependence of the manual and mental. The contributors explore the possibility that the hand, far from being the merely mechanical executor of preconceived mental plans, possesses its own know-how, enabling "enhanded" beings to navigate the natural, social, and cultural world without engaging propositional thought, consciousness, and deliberation.

The contributors consider not only broad philosophical questions—ranging from the nature of embodiment, enaction, and the extended mind to the phenomenology of agency—but also such specific issues as touching, grasping, gesturing, sociality, and simulation. They show that the capacities of the hand include perception (on its own and in association with other modalities), action, (extended) cognition, social interaction, and communication. Taken together, their accounts offer a handbook of cutting-edge research exploring the ways that the manual shapes and reshapes the mental and creates conditions for embodied agents to act in the world.

ContributorsMatteo Baccarini, Andrew J. Bremner, Massimiliano L. Cappuccio, Andy Clark, Jonathan Cole, Dorothy Cowie, Natalie Depraz, Rosalyn Driscoll, Harry Farmer, Shaun Gallagher, Nicholas P. Holmes, Daniel D. Hutto, Angelo Maravita, Filip Mattens, Richard Menary, Jesse J. Prinz, Zdravko Radman, Matthew Ratcliffe, Etiennne B. Roesch, Stephen V. Shepherd, Susan A.J. Stuart, Manos Tsakiris, Michael Wheeler


$55.00 X ISBN: 9780262018845 464 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 8 figures


Zdravko Radman

Zdravko Radman is Professor of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb, and the University of Split, Croatia. He is the author of Metaphors: Figures of the Mind and the editor of Knowing without Thinking: Mind, Action, Cognition, and the Phenomenon of the Background.


  • A fascinating collection....all the essays convey some new and interesting ideas....Radman's collection, by highlighting a range of philosophical, cognitive, neurophysiological, evolutionary, cultural, and aesthetic aspects of the hand, will surely benefit and resonate with a large and diverse readership.

    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

  • An impressive array of philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists...Radman has done us all a service in editing this volume—the first of its kind to my knowledge.


  • Radman's collection is a comprehensive, incisive and rewarding read, which brings together a host of diverse research about the hand. While there may be important conceptual divisions among the essays in this collection, these essays nonetheless demonstrate that what we do with our hands shapes in powerful and sometimes unexpected ways our thoughts and experiences. Hands matter and much more than one might think.

    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences