Chris Drain
Dartmouth College
Georg Theiner
Villanova University
The cross-disciplinary framework of Material Engagement Theory (MET) has emerged as a novel research program that flexibly spans archeology, anthropology, philosophy, and cognitive science. True to its slogan to ‘take material culture seriously’, “MET wants to change our understanding of what minds are and what they are made of by changing what we know about what things are and what they do for the mind” (Malafouris 2013, 141). By tracing out more clearly the conceptual contours of ‘material engagement,’ and firming up its ontological commitments, the main goal of this article is to help refine Malafouris’ fertile approach. In particular, we argue for a rapprochement between MET and the tradition of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, based on the ‘Vygotskian’ hypothesis of scaffolded and/or distributed cognition.
Keywords Extended Mind  Scaffolding  Material Engagement Theory  Vygotsky  Material Culture  Material Agency  Embodied Mind  Distributed Cognition  Metaphysics of Artifacts  Actor-Network Theory
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-016-9482-y
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