A way of connecting some of the various ways of thinking about the Big Questions of cognition (Why? How? Where? What For? and Who?) is through so-called “4-E Cognition”. Apparently 4-E as a theory has not taken off as a specific label for a project by any one group of scientists (Fred Cummins, pers.com.). Yet it seems to be just the ticket to combine some of the big issues around cognition, taking a philosophical point of view.
The four Es are: Embodied, Embedded, Enactive, Extended. According to Louise Barrett in the article “Why brains are not computers, why behaviorism is not Satanism, and why dolphins are not aquatic apes”, commonalities among these approaches include the idea that cognitive processes emerge from the animal’s physical relationship with its environment. The particular morphology of an animal, including connected sensory and motor capabilities (and a brain), allow specific types of interaction with the world (the world/environment/habitat outside of its body) that induces behaviors that are both adaptive and flexible. (Barrett 2016. p.14)
Keep in mind that there is still no solid, definitive, all purpose, agreed-upon definition of what a cognitive process is, or even a decent definition of the term “Cognition” itself (Cummins pers. com.).