In Scaffolded Minds, Somogy Varga offers a novel account of cognitive scaffolding and its significance for understanding mental disorders. The book is part of the growing philosophical engagement with empirically informed philosophy of mind, which studies the interfaces between philosophy and cognitive science. Varga draws on two recent shifts within empirically informed philosophy of mind: the first, toward an intensified study of the embodied mind; and the second, toward a study of the disordered mind that acknowledges the convergence of the explanatory concerns of psychiatry and interdisciplinary inquiries into the mind.
Varga sets out to accomplish a dual task: theoretical mapping of cognitive scaffolding; and the application/calibration of fine-grained philosophical distinctions to empirical research. He introduces the notion of actively scaffolded cognition (ASC) and offers a taxonomy that distinguishes between intrasomatic and extrasomatic scaffolding. He then shows that ASC offers a productive framework for considering certain characteristic features of mental disorders, focusing on altered bodily experience and social cognition deficits. With Cognitive Scaffolding, Varga aims to establish that shifting attention from mental symptoms to fine-grained sensorimotor aspects can lead to identifying diagnostic subtypes or even specific sensorimotor markers for early diagnosis.