Re-covering the Idea of a Tertiary Artifact

  • Mike ColeEmail author
Part of the Perspectives in Cultural-Historical Research book series (PCHR, volume 6)


Drawing on Wartofsky’s work on models and, in particular, his notion of a tertiary artifact as a guide to action, Cole gives detailed examples of how his creation of the Fifth Dimension, aiming at engaging vulnerable learners, can be characterized as a tertiary artifact that opens up imaginative possibilities for these learners. The argument is that there no natural perception; children must learn how to see, and how to think, and the construction of material representations, such as the environment offered by the Fifth Dimension, is key to this learning. A tertiary artifact mediates the ways in which we perceive the world in a particularly powerful way, guiding and informing human imagination. What tertiary artifacts permit and foster is a mode of engagement in the world that can be said to be offline. Offline activity, according to Wartofsky, is play in an imaginatively constructed world and this is what is offered in the design of the Fifth Dimension (5th D).


Artifact Imaginative practice Models Tertiary artifact 5th Dimension 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SiegenSiegenGermany

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