Distributed Cognition as Human Centered although not Human Bound: Reply to Vaesen 1

Social Epistemology 25 (4):393 - 399 (2011)
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Abstract

At issue is the usefulness of a concept of distributed cognition for the philosophy of science. I have argued for the desirability of regarding scientific systems such as the Hubble Space Telescope as distributed cognitive systems. But I disagree with those who would ascribe cognitive states, such as knowledge, to such systems as a whole, and insist that cognitive states are ascribable only to the human components of such systems. Vaesen, appealing to a well-known ?parity principle,? insists that if there is a distributed cognitive system, it must have cognitive states. Otherwise, we are left with only the cognitive states of individual humans who are then not part of a distributed cognitive system. I argue that Vaesen has misinterpreted the parity principle, which, in any case, I reject, and go on to argue for an understanding of scientific cognition as human centered even though not human bound

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Ronald Giere
Last affiliation: University of Minnesota

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