Ample evidence from various quarters indicates that the perceptual-cognitive competence of the pre- and perinatal human being is significantly greater than was once thought. Some of the evidence of this emerging picture of early competence is reviewed, and its importance both as evidence of the biogenetic structural concept of “neurognosis” and for a theory of enculturation is discussed. The literature of pre- and perinatal psychology, especially that of developmental neuropsychology, psychobiology, and social psychophysiology, is incorporated, and some of the (...) implications of these data for a theory of enculturation are suggested. (shrink)
Carpendale & Lewis (C&L) view enculturation as the internalization of cultural concepts given in social interactions. They claim that enculturation implies relativism and fails to take into account both the constructive activity of the child and the gradual nature of development. Their view is contrasted with the notion of the child as both enculturated and enculturing throughout the course of development.
Australia is a suburban nation, with 85 percent of the 20 million people clinging to the coastal fringes of the world's largest island and oldest continent. This article explores Australian suburbia as the `third space' that mediates urbanism to `nature'. It draws on the thought of George Seddon, an important initiator of ecological history, regional geography and sub/urban politics in Australia. Seddon's insights on Australian ecosystems and Australian interpretations, namings, perceptions and shapings of their natural environment since the beginning of (...) European colonization in 1788 are used to think about the `nature of suburbia', `nature in suburbia' and suburbia in Australian `nature'. Its central argument is that nature is always culturally mediated and that the dominant ecological imaginary in Australia is suburban. The suburbs are the sites of economic, ecological and cultural trafficking about nature. It is argued here that the `bush', at least since the Second World War in Australia, has been more determinative of the suburban social imaginary than the `city'. In recent years, the meaning of the `bush' has transmuted from the `country' into the `wilderness', and from a valorization of the historic settlement process to myths of pure, aboriginal nature unadulterated by human imaginings and interventions. Though the meanings of the `bush' have changed in each case, its interpreter and maker is the socialized gardener of suburbia. The future of Australian nature is to be played out in the suburbs. (shrink)
The growing field of evo-devo is increasingly demonstrating the complexity of steps involved in genetic, intracellular regulatory, and extracellular environmental control of the development of phenotypes. A key result of such work is an account for the remarkable plasticity of organismal form in many species based on relatively minor changes in regulation of highly conserved genes and genetic processes. Accounting for behavioral plasticity is of similar potential interest but has received far less attention. Of particular interest is plasticity in communication (...) systems, where human language represents an ultimate target for research. The present paper considers plasticity of language capabilities in a comparative framework, focusing attention on examples of a remarkable fact: Whereas there exist design features of mature human language that have never been observed to occur in non-humans in the wild, many of these features can be developed to notable extents when non-humans are enculturated through human training. These examples of enculturated developmental plasticity across extremely diverse taxa suggest, consistent with the evo-devo theme of highly conserved processes in evolution, that human language is founded in part on cognitive capabilities that are indeed ancient and that even modern humans show self-organized emergence of many language capabilities in the context of rich enculturation, built on the special social/ecological history of the hominin line. Human culture can thus be seen as a regulatory system encouraging language development in the context of a cognitive background with many highly conserved features. (shrink)
Although music is universal, there is a great deal of cultural variability in music structures. Nevertheless, some aspects of music processing generalize across cultures, whereas others rely heavily on the listening environment. Here, we discuss the development of musical knowledge, focusing on four themes: (a) capabilities that are present early in development; (b) culture-general and culture-specific aspects of pitch and rhythm processing; (c) age-related changes in pitch perception; and (d) developmental changes in how listeners perceive emotion in music.
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. (shrink)
Theories of children's developing understanding of mind tend to emphasize either individualistic processes of theory formation, maturation, or introspection, or the process of enculturation. However, such theories must be able to account for the accumulating evidence of the role of social interaction in the development of social understanding. We propose an alternative account, according to which the development of children's social understanding occurs within triadic interaction involving the child's experience of the world as well as communicative interaction with others (...) about their experience and beliefs (Chapman 1991; 1999). It is through such triadic interaction that children gradually construct knowledge of the world as well as knowledge of other people. We contend that the extent and nature of the social interaction children experience will influence the development of children's social understanding. Increased opportunity to engage in cooperative social interaction and exposure to talk about mental states should facilitate the development of social understanding. We review evidence suggesting that children's understanding of mind develops gradually in the context of social interaction. Therefore, we need a theory of development in this area that accords a fundamental role to social interaction, yet does not assume that children simply adopt socially available knowledge but rather that children construct an understanding of mind within social interaction. Key Words: language; Piaget; social interaction; theories of mind; Vygotsky; Wittgenstein. (shrink)
This paper explores several paths a distinctive third wave of extended cognition might take. In so doing, I address a couple of shortcomings of first- and second-wave extended cognition associated with a tendency to conceive of the properties of internal and external processes as fixed and non-interchangeable. First, in the domain of cognitive transformation, I argue that a problematic tendency of the complementarity model is that it presupposes that socio-cultural resources augment but do not significantly transform the brain’s representational capacities (...) during diachronic development. In this paper I show that there is available a much more dynamical explanation—one taking the processes of the brain’s enculturation into patterned practices as transforming the brain’s representational capacities. Second, in the domain of cognitive assembly, I argue that another problematic tendency is an individualistic notion of cognitive agency, since it overlooks the active contribution of socio-cultural practices in the assembly process of extended cognitive systems. In contrast to an individualistic notion of cognitive agency, I explore the idea that it is possible to decentralize cognitive agency to include socio-cultural practices. (shrink)
In ‘A Dialogue’, Hume offers an important reply to the moral skeptic. Skeptics traditionally point to instances of moral diversity in support of the claim that our core values are fixed by enculturation. Hume argues that the skeptic exaggerates the amount of variation in moral codes, however, and fails to adopt an indulgent stance toward attitudes different from ours. Hume proposes a charitable interpretation of moral disagreement, moreover, which traces it back to shared principles of human nature. Contemporary philosophers (...) attempt to locate examples of moral variability that cannot be accommodated in this way. But they are no more successful than their predecessors. Moral skeptics have not found a single case of moral diversity that is resistant to the Humean strategy. (shrink)
How should one attribute epistemic credit to an agent, and hence, knowledge, when cognitive processes include an extensive use of human or mechanical enhancers, informational tools, and devices which allow one to complement or modify one's own cognitive system? The concept of integration of a cognitive system has been used to address this question. For true belief to be creditable to a person's ability, it is claimed, the relevant informational processes must be or become part of the cognitive character of (...) the agent, as a result of a process of enculturation. We argue that this view does not capture the role of sensitivity to epistemic norms in forming true beliefs. An analysis of epistemic actions, basic and extended, is proposed as offering an appropriate framework for crediting an agent with knowledge. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the uses of history in science. It focuses in particular on Anglo-American genetics and on university textbooks—where the canon of a science is consolidated, as the heterogeneous approaches and controversies of its practice are rendered unified for its reproduction. Tracing the emergence and eventual standardization of geneticists’ use of a case-based method of teaching in the 1920s–1950s, this paper argues that geneticists created historical environments in their textbooks—spaces in which students developed an understanding of the (...) laws of genetics through simulations of their discovery and use. Witnessing the unfolding of Mendel’s and Morgan’s experiments and performing genetic crosses on paper, students learned not only the rules that were explicitly taught as such, but also the experientially-based, tacit skills needed to find and follow these rules. This didactic system taught them how to go on when confronting new situations, and in doing so, provided geneticists with an important disciplinary tool, freeing the first steps of their student’s enculturation from the physical infrastructure of the laboratory. (shrink)
I characterize controlling pictures or assumptions and concomitants of first modemity and then postmodernity. In brief, these assumptions are the possibility of absolute transcendence of one’s body, language, and culture versus the inescapability of some immanence in the same, of standing in the world. I trace the historical trajectory of the modem spirit and conclude that the move from modernity to postmodemity has been a long, gradual one that continues today. Modern thought increasingly recognized the historical relativity and conditionedness of (...) everything human, yet held on to at least one version of absolutism. Recognizing that all of even one’s own thinking is always incarnate and conditioned is the decisive point for entering postmodernity. The critical and non-critical aspects of the postmodem spirit are described. I next offer an evaluative overview of modern. theology, evaluate two movements in modern theology and philosophy-existentialism and process thought -- with important postmodern elements, and commend liberation theologies for exposing absolutistic assumptions of modem theology. Finally, with some trepidation I evaluate three types of self-consciously postmodern theology (which can find possible or actual counterparts in all the disciplines of the humanities). Radical or deconstructive postrnodernism hypothesizes total immanence in our representations of reality. It alternates between the relativistic standing everywhere of equally endorsing all interpretations and the standing nowhere of nihilism. In its hidden standard of absolute truth and its refusal to (claim a) stand in the world, radical postmodernism reveals itself to be modern rather than postmodern. Conservative posmodemism. or postliberalism emphasizes the importance of enculturation in a tradition. Hypothesizing immanence inincommensurate worldviews, its posture is defensive. Protestant postliberalism, including Radical Orthodoxy, postmodernly claims Christianity as a self-authenticating context of meaning, but then incoherently shifts into the posture of modem or pre-modern absolutism and claims it as the one true religion. Only moderate postmodernism can adequately reflect the postmodern spirit. It charts a course betvveen absolutism and relativism. It gives the critical aspect its due, affirming limited human transcendence. It grants that all persons are rooted in the world, that all are embodied and enculturated in some meaning. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to present a conceptualization of cultural groups and cultural difference that provides a middle course between the Scylla of essentialism and the Charybdis of reductionism. The method I employ is the social mechanism approach. I argue that cultural groups and cultural difference should be understood as the result of cognitive and social processes of categorization. I describe two such processes in particular: categorization by others and self- categorization. Categorization by others is caused by processes (...) of ascription: the attribution by outsiders of certain characteristics, beliefs, and practices to indi- viduals who share a specific attribute. Self-categorization is caused by processes of inscription and community-building: the adoption of certain beliefs and practices as a result of socialization and enculturation. I therefore shift the focus from groups to categories, and from categories to processes of categorization. I show that this analytical distinction between categorization by others and self-categorization can clarify an ambiguity in dominant debates in contemporary multiculturalism. I conclude by indicating how injustices, commonly associated with multiculturalism, can better be understood as socially generated injustices, and how government should deal with these injustices. (shrink)
African philosophy in the twentieth century is largely the work of African intellectuals under the influence of philosophical traditions from the colonial countries. Among them are few names such as Amilcar Cabral, Franz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah, and Julius Nyerere etc. This paper is an attempt to analyze the politicalphilosophy of Nkrumah, first President of Republic of Ghana in West Africa. The paper argues that from the African political and economic point of view Nkrumah advocated a socialist system created out of (...) the enculturation of African humanist values with the inherited European political culture and social traditions to liberate unite and integrate Ghana and rest of Africa. Following an interdisciplinary approach this paper assesses Nkrumah’s thought both as an individual, intellectual and as a politician. His book ‘Consciencism’ describes the more political than socio-economic approach to class contradictions in African society. In his ‘Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare’ he talked of three objectives i.e. nationalism, pan-Africanism and socialism. He offered the African liberationmovement a strategy of socialist revolution. Nkrumah who had earlier embraced Gandhian non-violence positive action later adopted the Fanonian lines of revolutionary violence recommending the use of universal method i.e. armed struggle to defeat colonialism.. Nkrumah played an important part in spreading the ideas of socialism in Africa. He had a holistic politico-cultural thought that was reflected in many of his speeches and works. Though critics in his thought have found profound contradictions or confusions but none can obscure the main achievements. Remembered as ‘the redeemer’ by the Africans, he provided the charisma they needed for a leading statesman against any form of imperialism. (shrink)
Mesoudi et al.'s new synthesis for cultural evolution closely parallels the evolutionary synthesis of Neo-Darwinism. It too draws inspiration from population genetics, recruits other fields, and, unfortunately, also ignores development. Enculturation involves many serially acquired skills and dependencies that allow us to build a rich cumulative culture. The newer synthesis, evolutionary developmental biology, provides a key tool, generative entrenchment, to analyze them. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Many of our cognitive capacities are the result of enculturation. Enculturation is the temporally extended transformative acquisition of cognitive practices in the cognitive niche. Cognitive practices are embodied and normatively constrained ways to interact with epistemic resources in the cognitive niche in order to complete a cognitive task. The emerging predictive processing perspective offers new functional principles and conceptual tools to account for the cerebral and extra-cerebral bodily components that give rise to cognitive practices. According to this emerging (...) perspective, many cases of perception, action, and cognition are realized by the on-going minimization of prediction error. Predictive processing provides us with a mechanistic perspective that helps investigate the functional details of the acquisition of cognitive practices. The argument of this paper is that research on enculturation and recent work on predictive processing are complementary. The main reason is that predictive processing operates at a sub-personal level and on a physiological time scale of explanation only. A complete account of enculturated cognition needs to take additional levels and temporal scales of explanation into account. This complementarity assumption leads to a new framework—enculturated predictive processing—that operates on multiple levels and temporal scales for the explanation of the enculturated predictive acquisition of cognitive practices. Enculturated predictive processing is committed to explanatory pluralism. That is, it subscribes to the idea that we need multiple perspectives and explanatory strategies to account for the complexity of enculturation. The upshot is that predictive processing needs to be complemented by additional considerations and conceptual tools to realize its full explanatory potential. (shrink)
In his influential book, "Changing Order", H.M. Collins puts forward the following three claims concerning experimental replication. (i) Replication is rarely practiced by experimentalists; (ii) replication cannot be used as an objective test of scientific knowledge claims, because of the occurrence of the so-called experimenters' regress; and (iii) stopping this regress at some point depends upon the enculturation in a local community of practitioners, who tacitly learn the relevant skills. In my paper I discuss and assess these claims on (...) the basis of a more comprehensive analysis of experimentation and experimental reproducibility. The main point is that Collins' claims are not, strictly speaking, wrong, but rather too one-sided and therefore inadequate. This point also calls for a reconsideration of the radical (social constructivist) conclusions that Collins has drawn from his studies of scientific experimentation. (shrink)
The conclusions drawn from mirror self-recognition studies, in which nonhuman animals are tested for whether they detect a mark on their bodies which can be observed only in the mirror, are based on several presuppositions. These include that performance on the test is an indication of species wide rather than individual abilities, and that all the animals which pass the test are demonstrating the presence of the same psychological ability. However, further details about the results of the test indicate that (...) these presuppositions are false. Animals take the test as individuals, not as stand-ins for species, and members of different species rely on different cognitive mechanisms to pass the test. For nonhuman animals, passing the test seems to be a consequence of enculturation and practice. (shrink)
In this article I present behavioural analyses of particular constructions of democracy and the ethic of care, in order to determine whether care is a democratic virtue. I analyse Carol Gilligan's concept of care as a complex of six virtues or behavioural dispositions: acquaintance, mindfulness, moral imagining, solidarity, tolerance and self-care. I then describe democracy in terms of two divergent but compatible sets of practices: social non-interference and social co-operation. These behavioural analyses lead me to conclude that certain behavioural habits (...) that partially constitute a person's or a community's caring also partially constitute that person's or community's democracy. Specifically, the caring virtues of acquaintance, mindfulness, moral imagining and self-care also belong to the virtue of democratic co-operation, and the caring virtue of tolerance constitutes the democratic ideal of non-interference. However, solidarity of conscience and private purposes is not itself a democratic ideal, and to try to make it so would violate the democratic ideal of non-interference. Since most of the virtues of care I identified are also virtues of democracy, they are appropriate aims of public education. The enculturation of caring and democratic virtues requires that children practise the kind of inquiry in which these ideals are constructed. (shrink)
This chapter reviews developments and difficulties in the nonverbal behavior literature. Despite the atheoretical bias of the discipline, four implicit models may be found there-the ethological, the enculturation, the internal states, and the situational resource models. After reviewing research based on these models, we conclude that the situational resource paradigm has much to offer nonverbal theorizing.
Archaeology, of all the human sciences, can dodge this problem the least, and the great virtue of Shennan’s Genes, Memes and Human History is that he confronts it directly. For though humans are now both cultural and ecological beings, it was not always so. Once our hominid ancestors had a social organisation and a material culture roughly equivalent to that of today’s chimpanzees. Chimps are not encultured in the sense that we are encultured: their social life and their ecology does (...) not depend on the accurate and extensive transmission of information from parents to offspring. It falls to archaeology to document and explain the transition from merely social hominids to encultured hominids. Archaeologists cannot escape our dual nature, for they must explain its coming into being. Thus for an evolutionary archaeologist like Shennan, the evolutionary facet of human nature and human history must be geneologically primary. For our enculturation is the product of a continuing evolutionary process grafted onto the top of a pre-existing set of ecological and social relations. (shrink)
There appears to be an irresolvable disagreement between “progressives” and “conservatives” regarding the ultimate aims of education. This paper argues that the dispute is irresolvable as it currently stands because the traditional progressive/conservative dichotomies are false and based on distorted half-truths. The current impasse is due to the fact that educationalists and philosophers alike have hitherto misunderstood the fundamental purpose of educational activities. The central claim of this paper is that a biological perspective on education allows one to see past (...) the traditional dichotomies and affords a coherent rationale for a set of curricular priorities by providing the framework necessary to draw principled distinctions between education, training, indoctrination, and enculturation, all without having to draw on contentious politico-ideological commitments. (shrink)
The paper focuses on Hegel’s concept of Bildung and its significance for his account of the concrete subjectivity. It is pointed out that it would be a misinterpretation of Hegel's account of Bildung to reduce it either to a merely individual intellectual event (education, narrowly construed) or to economic production. In Hegel, Bildung is a real historical process that takes place within the life of any individual, any culture and (in principle) even the human race. That is a concrete universal (...) process in which we human beings necessary participate and through which we become aware of ourselves and our natural and social environment. The link Hegel sets between the process of individual enculturation and Bildung of “cosmic” spirit indicates the essential interdependence of individual and universal in social and cultural life. Just as there is noindividuality without the individual’s participation in the universal social and cultural life, there cannot be achieved any universal context without activity of the individuals. In the process of enculturation, the individual (here as a collective historical subject,humanity at large) creates culture and at the same time creates himself through culture. (shrink)
In 1991 Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs made oﬀ with ﬁve Academy Awards, including the coveted "Best Picture." Merely to introduce this fact I have already had to ignore several potentially relevant questions.  But I will spare you the tedium of endlessly qualifying my choice of subject matter; both existentialism and psychoanalysis teach us that the attempt to get behind our own starting points or render our pasts completely transparent to ourselves is an impossible task. Rather, let (...) me lay my Heideggerian cards on the table up front, brieﬂy outlining the methodological understanding from which I will be working in the rest of this paper. (shrink)
The interlink between myth and wisdom in Hellenic heritage is characteristically embodied in the Platonic philosophizing as regards the education and enculturation of the human psyche. As is read in the end of The Republic , the myth of Er turns out to be a philosophical rewriting of poetry to a large degree. For it engagingly reveals Plato’s moral inculcation, philosophical instruction and poetic wisdom in particular, all of which are intended to guide human conduct along the right track (...) for the bliss of the postmortem cycle, and put philosophy learning into first priority for the choice of the future life. Moreover, the transmigrate experience in the mystic overtone of “the Orphic-Pythagorean conglomerate” is discussed with a intercultural reference to the Buddhist doctrines of samsara and karma. (shrink)
MacIntyre shares with others, such as John McDowell, a broad commitment in moral epistemology to the centrality of tradition and both regard forms of enculturation as conditions of moral knowledge. Although MacIntyre is critical of the thought that moral reasons are available only to those whose experience of the world is conceptually articulated, he is sympathetic to the idea that the development of sub jectivity involves the capacity to appreciate external moral demands. This paper critically examines some aspects of (...) MacIntyre’s account of how knowledge is related to tradition, and suggests ways in which the formation of moral sub jectivity involves the ability to experience the world. (shrink)
Musical knowledge is largely implicit. It is acquired without awareness of its complex rules, through interaction with a large number of samples during musical enculturation. Whereas several studies explored implicit learning of mostly abstract and less ecologically valid features of Western music, very little work has been done with respect to ecologically valid stimuli as well as non-Western music. The present study investigated implicit learning of modal melodic features in North Indian classical music in a realistic and ecologically valid (...) way. It employed a cross-grammar design, using melodic materials from two modes that use the same scale. Findings indicated that Western participants unfamiliar with Indian music incidentally learned to identify distinctive features of each mode. Confidence ratings suggest that participants' performance was consistently correlated with confidence, indicating that they became aware of whether they were right in their responses; that is, they possessed explicit judgment knowledge. Altogether our findings show incidental learning in a realistic ecologically valid context during only a very short exposure, they provide evidence that incidental learning constitutes a powerful mechanism that plays a fundamental role in musical acquisition. (shrink)
The role of motherhood was attenuated over the second half of the twentieth century, by literal and metaphorical factors: Privileged women gained control over their reproduction and developed non-mothering life priorities; government and society became less nurturing in public ideals; projects of spontaneous speciation began in biology; the environment became unsustaining. In addition, feminist criticism resulted in greater individuation between the persons of mothers and their children. With these changes, the role of motherhood lacks a positive identity, culturally and psychically. (...) Extending a literary character, I suggest that mothers consider an attenuated internal identity, based on their unique biological relationships to their children. This would afford a more positive self-identity, as well as a pragmatic solution to demands made by present “middleman” roles for mothers to procure expert child enculturation care, in addition to their “second shifts.”. (shrink)
The thesis of discontinuity between humans and nonhumans requires evidence from formal reasoning tasks that rules out solutions based on associative strategies. However, insightful problem solving can be often credited through talking to humans, but not to nonhumans. We note the paradox of assuming that reasoning is orthogonal to language and enculturation while employing the criterion of using language to compare what humans and nonhumans know.