Idealization and external symbolic storage: the epistemic and technical dimensions of theoretic cognition
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (3):335-366 (2012)
This paper explores some of the constructive dimensions and specifics of human theoretic cognition, combining perspectives from (Husserlian) genetic phenomenology and distributed cognition approaches. I further consult recent psychological research concerning spatial and numerical cognition. The focus is on the nexus between the theoretic development of abstract, idealized geometrical and mathematical notions of space and the development and effective use of environmental cognitive support systems. In my discussion, I show that the evolution of the theoretic cognition of space apparently follows two opposing, but in truth, intrinsically aligned trajectories. On the epistemic plane, which is the main focus of Husserl’s genetic phenomenological investigations, theoretic conceptions of space are progressively constituted by way of an idealizing emancipation of spatial cognition from the concrete, embodied intentionality underlying the human organism’s perception of space. As a result of this emancipation, it ultimately becomes possible for the human mind to theoretically conceive of and posit space as an ideal entity that is universally geometrical and mathematical. At the same time, by synthesizing a range of literature on spatial and mathematical cognition, I illustrate that for the theoretic mind to undertake precisely this emancipating process successfully, and further, for an ideal and objective notion of geometrical and mathematical space to first of all become fully scientifically operative, the cognitive support provided by a range of specific symbolic technologies is central. These include lettered diagrams, notation systems, and more generally, the technique of formalization and require for their functioning various cognitively efficacious types of embodiment. Ultimately, this paper endeavors to understand the specific symbolic-technological dimensions that have been instrumental to major shifts in the development of idealized, scientific conceptions of space. The epistemic characteristics of these shifts have been previously discussed in genetic phenomenology, but without devoting sufficient attention to the constructive role of symbolic technologies. At the same time, this paper identifies some of the irreducible phenomenological and epistemic dimensions that characterize the functioning of the historically situated, embodied and distributed theoretic mind.
|Keywords||Theoretic cognition Spatial cognition Distributed cognition Phenomenology Enculturation Formalization Idealization Symbolic technology Embodiment|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Tobias Dantzig (1954/1967). Number, the Language of Science. New York, Free Press.
Helen De Cruz (2008). An Extended Mind Perspective on Natural Number Representation. Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):475 – 490.
Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt (2013). Mathematical Symbols as Epistemic Actions. Synthese 190 (1):3-19.
René Descartes (1984). The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. Cambridge University Press.
Frank Domahs, Korbinian Moeller, Stefan Huber, Klaus Willmes & Hans-Christoph Nuerk (2010). Embodied Numerosity: Implicit Hand-Based Representations Influence Symbolic Number Processing Across Cultures. Cognition 116 (2):251-266.
Citations of this work BETA
Peter Woelert (2013). Technology, Knowledge, Governance: The Political Relevance of Husserl's Critique of the Epistemic Effects of Formalization. Continental Philosophy Review 46 (4):487-507.
Similar books and articles
Ronald N. Giere (2007). Distributed Cognition Without Distributed Knowing. Social Epistemology 21 (3):313 – 320.
Jaime F. Cárdenas-García (2013). Distributed Cognition: An Ectoderm-Centric Perspective. [REVIEW] Biosemiotics 6 (3):337-350.
Pierre Poirier & Guillaume Chicoisne (2006). A Framework for Thinking About Distributed Cognition. Pragmatics and Cognition 14 (2):215-234.
Arthur M. Glenberg (2006). Radical Changes in Cognitive Process Due to Technology: A Jaundiced View. Pragmatics and Cognition 14 (2):263-274.
Ronald Giere (2002). 15 Scientific Cognition as Distributed Cognition. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen P. Stich & Michael Siegal (eds.), The Cognitive Basis of Science. Cambridge University Press 285.
Reza Lahroodi (2007). Evaluating Need for Cognition: A Case Study in Naturalistic Epistemic Virtue Theory. Philosophical Psychology 20 (2):227 – 245.
Krist Vaesen (2011). Giere's (In)Appropriation of Distributed Cognition. Social Epistemology 25 (4):379 - 391.
Peter Woelert (2011). Human Cognition, Space, and the Sedimentation of Meaning. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (1):113-137.
Max M. Louwerse (2011). Symbol Interdependency in Symbolic and Embodied Cognition. Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2):273-302.
Christian List (2003). Distributed Cognition: A Perspective From Social Choice Theory. In M. Albert, D. Schmidtchen & S. Voigt (eds.), Scientific Competition: Theory and Policy, Conferences on New Political Economy. Mohr Siebeck
Ronald N. Giere (2007). Distributed Cognition Without Distributed Knowing. Social Epistemology 21 (3):313-320.
Larry Shapiro (2007). The Embodied Cognition Research Programme. Philosophy Compass 2 (2):338–346.
Ivar Hagendoorn (2012). Inscribing the Body, Exscribing Space. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (1):69-78.
Shannon Spaulding (2011). Embodied Social Cognition. Philosophical Topics 39 (1):141-162.
Added to index2011-11-16
Total downloads24 ( #112,516 of 1,700,240 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #128,702 of 1,700,240 )
How can I increase my downloads?