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Systemic Cognition: Human Artifice in Life and Language

  • Stephen J. Cowley
  • Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau

Abstract

Rather than rely on functionalist or enactivist principles, Cognition Beyond the Brain traces thinking to human artifice. In pursuing this approach, we gradually developed what can be deemed a third position in cognitive science. This is because, like talking, doing things with artefacts draws on both biological and cultural principles. On this systemic view, skills embody beliefs, roles and social practices. Since people rely on interactivity or sense-saturated coordination, action also re-enacts cultural history. Bidirectional dynamics connect embodiment to non-local regularities. Thinking thus emerges in a temporal trajectory of action that takes place within a space populated by people and objects. Utterances, thoughts and deeds all draw on physical, biological and cultural constraints. Even plans are shaped as first-order activity is shaped by second-order structures. Intentions and learning arise as dynamics in one time-scale are co-regulated by dynamics in other scales. For example, in ontogenesis, interactivity prompts a child to strategic use of second-order language. By linking cultural scales to inter-bodily dynamics, circumstances are coloured by resources that serve in using simulation to manage thought, feeling and action. The systemic nature of cognition connects now, the adjacent possible, implications for others and, potentially, social and environmental change.

Keywords

Extended System Judgement Aggregation Collective Control Cultural Constraint Social Affordances 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Cowley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau
    • 3
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUK
  2. 2.Department of Language and CommunicationUniversity of Southern DenmarkSlagelseDenmark
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyKingston UniversityKingston upon ThamesUK

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