Extended Mind: From Individual to Collective Epistemic Action | Georg Theiner – Academia.edu

Posted: July 10, 2013 in cognition/consciousness, Ideas, language

From Individual to Collective Epistemic Action

Georg Theiner reorients the study of cognition toward the complex interactions among brain, bodies, and their social and cultural environments as they produce  cognitive outcomes (cf. Clark 2008;Sutton et al. 2010). Use of cognitive technologies to scaffold the social interactions of people who collaboratively carryout certain cognitive tasks has been described in several environments (e.g., cockpits, navigation bridges, traffic control centers). Such “cognitive technologies” (Norman 1991) enable us to distribute cognition in space, time, and among people (Hutchins 1995). Social and cultural exchange of expertise via expert language, maps, databases that “scaffolded” cognition among individuals and generations of scientists, for example (Sterelny, 2010).

Theiner focuses on the mechanisms by which groups of people actively change the structure of their own social organization, with the epistemic goal of reshaping and augmenting their cognitive performance as integrated collectivities. For this purpose, the dynamic, interaction-centered notion of epistemic action in the work of Kirsh and Maglio (1994) seems toprovide a more promising starting point than the static, object-centered notion of a cognitive resource. “As a way of articulating a distinctively collective dimension of the “extended mind” thesis, I thus propose that we distinguish between individual and collective epistemic actions . . . . actions by which groups change the world in order to simplify their problem-solving tasks.”  .

via Onwards and Upwards with the Extended Mind: From Individual to Collective Epistemic Action | Georg Theiner – Academia.edu.

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