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Lecture 17

Lecture 17 Feb 15.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Vanina Leschziner

SOC483Y1- February 15, 2012 Reading: Edwin Hutchins, selections from “introduction,” “Navigation as Computation,” chapter 2, “The Implementation of Contemporary Pilotage,” chapter 3, “Cultural Cognition,” chapter 9 in Cognition in the Wild (The MIT Press, 1995), pp. xi-xiv, 65-67, 92-99, 110-116, 164-174, 353-374. - Culture is a process - Anthropologists guilty of accepting marginalization of culture or enhancing it as they thought they could grant space to powers or limitations of the mind – guilty of overlooking cultural nature of cognition – results of this leads us to make too much of the inside/outside boundary or to assume the primacy of the boundary over other delimitations of cognitive systems Hutchins work helps thinking about things beyond the obvious… Hutchins on whether problem solving would be reduced with globalization across different countries- if we take into account all the factors Hutchins thinks we need to keep in mind to understand cognition it goes beyond rationality or ways of thinking Hutchins – cultural anthropologist by training, studied all sorts of things- our reading is on the study of navigation, worked with US Navy ships and on New Guinea and then flying and deck operations “naturally situated cognition” and socially distributed cognition - Natural because our cognition happens in the wild – which reminds you of Jean Lave – critique of many studying cognition – Lave introduced artificial conditions where you cannot really understand cognition as it is artificial and not like real life vs. Hutchins adds to Lave is that they do not have materials - Also anthropology influenced- in the conclusion – Hutchins explains where anthropologists coming from – reacting to behaviorist tendencies moving to the individual - Psychology and anthropology – was very behaviorist focused trying to understand behavior by looking at people – which led to an analysis of culture and cognition which happens inside the mind (Geertz) related in that people would study cognition and culture in terms of what people could verbalize – why they talked about it - 1. First cognitive psychology turned inward- functioning with what people need to know to be a good member (Tylor) – knowledge that people need to have to be good members of society which is declarative knowledge - 2. It turned away from practice – inquiring about what people know people stopped looking at what they do and looked at what they say they do therefore we see Hutchins emphasis on study in the wild – inward and outward - Cannot say inside or outside are distinct – no binary - Internal not completely unaffected by culture - One may say that the mind is untouched by culture in terms of symbol interpreting process - Hutchins is arguing the understanding of the brain modelled after computers yes one may think this hardwiring and that the mind is a symbol of processing – but Hutchins does not agree with this Hutchins has a problem with this because how we process
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