This paper introduces a new, expanded range of relevant cognitive psychological research on collaborative recall and social memory to the philosophical debate on extended and distributed cognition. We start by examining the case for extended cognition based on the complementarity of inner and outer resources, by which neural, bodily, social, and environmental resources with disparate but complementary properties are integrated into hybrid cognitive systems, transforming or augmenting the nature of remembering or decision-making. Adams and Aizawa, noting this distinctive complementarity argument, (...) say that they agree with it completely: but they describe it as “a non-revolutionary approach” which leaves “the cognitive psychology of memory as the study of processes that take place, essentially without exception, within nervous systems.” In response, we carve out, on distinct conceptual and empirical grounds, a rich middle ground between internalist forms of cognitivism and radical anti-cognitivism. Drawing both on extended cognition literature and on Sterelny’s account of the “scaffolded mind” (this issue), we develop a multidimensional framework for understanding varying relations between agents and external resources, both technological and social. On this basis we argue that, independent of any more “revolutionary” metaphysical claims about the partial constitution of cognitive processes by external resources, a thesis of scaffolded or distributed cognition can substantially influence or transform explanatory practice in cognitive science. Critics also cite various empirical results as evidence against the idea that remembering can extend beyond skull and skin. We respond with a more principled, representative survey of the scientific psychology of memory, focussing in particular on robust recent empirical traditions for the study of collaborative recall and transactive social memory. We describe our own empirical research on socially distributed remembering, aimed at identifying conditions for mnemonic emergence in collaborative groups. Philosophical debates about extended, embedded, and distributed cognition can thus make richer, mutually beneficial contact with independently motivated research programs in the cognitive psychology of memory. (shrink)
Written over the last 18 months of his life and inspired by his interest in G. E. Moore's defence of common sense, this much discussed volume collects Wittgenstein's reflections on knowledge and certainty, on what it is to know a proposition for sure.
Introduction to a collection of essays that celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Quine's paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism". Contributor: Herbert Schnädelbach, Paul A. Boghossian, Kathrin Glüer, Verena Mayer, Christian Nimtz, Åsa Maria Wikforss, Hans-Johann Glock, Peter Pagin, Tyler Burge, Geert Keil und Donald Davidson.
Extreme rates of premature death prior to the advent of modern medicine, very low rates of premature death in First World nations with low rates of prayer, and the least flawed of a large series of clinical trials indicate that remote prayer is not efficacious in treating illness. Mass contamination of sample cohorts renders such clinical studies inherently ineffectual. The required supernatural and paranormal mechanisms render them implausible. The possibility that the latter are not benign, and the potentially adverse psychological (...) impact of certain protocols, renders these medical trials unethical. Resources should no longer be wasted on medical efforts to detect the supernatural and paranormal. (shrink)
Transactive memory theory describes the processes by which benefits for memory can occur when remembering is shared in dyads or groups. In contrast, cognitive psychology experiments demonstrate that social influences on memory disrupt and inhibit individual recall. However, most research in cognitive psychology has focused on groups of strangers recalling relatively meaningless stimuli. In the current study, we examined social influences on memory in groups with a shared history, who were recalling a range of stimuli, from word lists to personal, (...) shared memories. We focused in detail on the products and processes of remembering during in-depth interviews with 12 older married couples. These interviews consisted of three recall tasks: (1) word list recall; (2) personal list recall, where stimuli were relevant to the couples’ shared past; and (3) an open-ended autobiographical interview. We conducted these tasks individually and then collaboratively two weeks later. Across each of the tasks, although some couples demonstrated collaborative inhibition, others demonstrated collaborative facilitation. We identified a number of factors that predicted collaborative success, in particular, group-level strategy use. Our results show that collaboration may help or hinder memory, and certain interactions are more likely to produce collaborative benefits. (shrink)
What would it be like to have never learned English, but instead only to know Hopi, Mandarin Chinese, or American Sign Language? Would that change the way you think? Imagine entirely losing your language, as the result of stroke or trauma. You are aphasic, unable to speak or listen, read or write. What would your thoughts now be like? As the most extreme case, imagine having been raised without any language at all, as a wild child. What—if anything—would it be (...) like to be such a person? Could you be smart; could you reminisce about the past, plan the future? (shrink)
Conversations about the past can involve voicing and silencing; processes of validation and invalidation that shape recall. In this experiment we examined the products and processes of remembering a significant autobiographical event in conversation with others. Following the death of Australian celebrity Steve Irwin, in an adapted version of the collaborative recall paradigm, 69 participants described and rated their memories for hearing of his death. Participants then completed a free recall phase where they either discussed the event in groups of (...) three or wrote about the event on their own. Finally, participants completed the original questionnaire again, both 1 week and 1 month after the free recall phase. Discussion influenced later memories for hearing of Irwin’s death, particularly memories for emotion and shock. Qualitative analysis of the free recall phase suggested that during conversation a shared understanding of the event developed, but that emotional reactions to the event were silenced in ways that minimised the event’s impact. These findings are discussed in terms of the processes and consequences of sharing public and personal memories in conversation. (shrink)
Experimental memory research has traditionally focused on the individual, and viewed social influence as a source of error or inhibition. However, in everyday life, remembering is often a social activity, and theories from philosophy and psychology predict benefits of shared remembering. In a series of studies, both experimental and more qualitative, we attempted to bridge this gap by examining the effects of collaboration on memory in a variety of situations and in a variety of groups. We discuss our results in (...) terms of a functional view of collaborative remembering, and consider when and in what ways remembering with others might help or hinder memory. (shrink)
The present paper uses the theme of dialectic and dialogue to begin unraveling the similarities and differences between the hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur and H.G. Gadamer. Ricoeur is shown to distance himself from Heidegger by insisting on a dimension of explanation and distanciation (which he sometimes identifies with Plato's `descending dialectic') that cannot be reduced to, or absorbed by, understanding and appropriation. This same move, however, leads him to reject Platonic dialogue, with the attendant prioritizing of oral conversation over (...) the written text, as a model for hermeneutics. Ricoeur therefore sees in Gadamer's recourse to such a model a regression to the problematic position of Heidegger. Yet the conception of philosophy as dialectical and dialogical which Gadamer finds in Plato is capable of responding to Ricoeur's objections. Where the fundamental difference between the hermeneutics of Ricoeur and Gadamer emerges is in the question of whether experience is fundamentally dialectical and whether language is inherently dialogical. (shrink)
Summary This paper traces a mutually reinforcing set of arguments about the practice of history in the work of J. G. A. Pocock and Paul Ricoeur that responds to challenges posed to the autonomy of selves and their communities raised by both thinkers. It begins with their respective views on language, texts and actions, moves to the construction of narrative and historiography, and concludes with their account of selves and the communities to which they belong. Corresponding to these three (...) considerations are a set of conclusions drawn with different emphases: first, that both texts and acts are potentially open to indefinite and plural interpretations; second, that narrative and historiography are constitutively contested modes of critical discourse continually open to the construction of new meaning; and third, that the contested, capable, narrative self, and the community to which that mediated self belongs, exercises autonomy as an active, responsible, reflective citizen and/or critical historian. It concludes from this study that the limited openness of language, narrative and identity constitutes the promise and risk of history as a contested and affective representation. (shrink)