Biological Theory

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 28–36 | Cite as

Skill and Collaboration in the Evolution of Human Cognition

Long Article


I start with a brief assessment of the implications of Sterelny’s anti-individualist, anti-internalist apprentice learning model for a more historical and interdisciplinary cognitive science. In a selective response I then focus on two core features of his constructive account: collaboration and skill. While affirming the centrality of joint action and decision making, I raise some concerns about the fragility of the conditions under which collaborative cognition brings benefits. I then assess Sterelny’s view of skill acquisition and performance, which runs counter to dominant theories that stress the automaticity of skill. I suggest that it may still overestimate the need for and ability of experts to decompose and represent the elements of their own practical knowledge.


Action Collaboration Collective cognition Coordination Expertise Skill 


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Copyright information

© Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognitive ScienceMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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