Diagrams, jars, and matchsticks: A systemicist’s toolkit

Pragmatics and Cognition 22 (2):187-205 (2014)

Participants in cognitive psychology experiments on reasoning and problem solving are commonly sequestered: Efforts are made to impoverish the physical context in which the problem is presented, decoupling people from the richer and modifiable environment that naturally instantiates it outside the lab. Sense-making activities are constrained, but this conforms to the strong internalist and individualist commitments implicit to these research efforts: Cognition reflects internal computations and the scientists’ toils must focus on the individual and what she is thinking, decoupled from the world. We contrast this position with one that identifies cognition as the product of a cognitive system that is configured and enacted by, minimally, an agent and the world in which she is embedded. We review work on the psychology of hypothesis testing and problem solving and argue that refocusing research efforts on the dynamic agent-environment couplings that generate cognitive products — such as a problem representation, a hypothesis or a problem solution — offers a much richer set of methodological opportunities to unveil how people actually think outside the cognitive psychologist’s laboratory. We conclude by exploring the ontological implications of a systemic perspective on cognition.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1075/pc.22.2.02val
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,785
External links

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

The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Popper - 1959 - Studia Logica 9:262-265.
Productive Thinking.Max Wertheimer - 1946 - Philosophical Review 55 (3):298-300.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Diagrammatic Reasoning: An Introduction.Riccardo Fusaroli & Kristian Tylén - 2014 - Pragmatics and Cognition 22 (2):183-186.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Thinking in Action.Stephen Cowley & Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau - 2010 - AI and Society 25 (4):469-475.
Diagrams in Geometry.Isabel Palomino Luengo - 1995 - Dissertation, Indiana University
An Ethical Toolkit for Food Companies: Reflections on its Use. [REVIEW]M. Deblonde, R. de Graaff & F. Brom - 2007 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 20 (1):99-118.
Peirce and the Logical Status of Diagrams.Sun-Joo Shin - 1994 - History and Philosophy of Logic 15 (1):45-68.
Rethinking Our Understanding of Diagrams.Kamaran Fathulla - 2011 - Semiotica 2011 (184):123-137.
Diagrams as Sketches.Brice Halimi - 2012 - Synthese 186 (1):387-409.
Diagrams as Tools for Scientific Reasoning.Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):117-131.
Reasoning with Sentences and Diagrams.Eric Hammer - 1994 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 35 (1):73-87.
Diagrams, Logic and Representation.Eric Morgan Hammer - 1995 - Dissertation, Indiana University
Diagrams in Biology.Laura Perini - 2013 - The Knowledge Engineering Review 28 (3):273-286.


Added to PP index

Total views
21 ( #391,274 of 2,244,022 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #73,756 of 2,244,022 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature