To understand the relationship between cognition and disability, let us appeal to the concept of “situated cognition” in cognitive neuroscience. The field of disability studies attends, after all, to the situatedness, or social construction, of disability. The two branches of situated cognition—embodied and embedded—can help to illuminate how a different kind of body and a different kind of environment generate a different kind of thought. Embodied cognition repairs the traditional mind-body divide, whereas embedded cognition reveals the extent to which we all depend on our physical and social environments to think. The former thus blurs the line between “physical” and “mental” disabilities because no condition is strictly one or the other, and the latter points to complex accommodative ecologies that enhance cognition by imaginatively distributing it beyond the individual.

This essay may be found on page 40 of the printed volume.

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