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  1. Ecological-Enactive Scientific Cognition: Modeling and Material Engagement.Giovanni Rolla & Felipe Novaes - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1:1-19.
    Ecological-enactive approaches to cognition aim to explain cognition in terms of the dynamic coupling between agent and environment. Accordingly, cognition of one’s immediate environment (which is sometimes labeled “basic” cognition) depends on enaction and the picking up of affordances. However, ecological-enactive views supposedly fail to account for what is sometimes called “higher” cognition, i.e., cognition about potentially absent targets, which therefore can only be explained by postulating representational content. This challenge levelled against ecological-enactive approaches highlights a putative explanatory gap between (...)
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  • Ecological-enactive scientific cognition: modeling and material engagement.Giovanni Rolla & Felipe Novaes - 2022 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 21 (3):625-643.
    Ecological-enactive approaches to cognition aim to explain cognition in terms of the dynamic coupling between agent and environment. Accordingly, cognition of one’s immediate environment depends on enaction and the picking up of affordances. However, ecological-enactive views supposedly fail to account for what is sometimes called “higher” cognition, i.e., cognition about potentially absent targets, which therefore can only be explained by postulating representational content. This challenge levelled against ecological-enactive approaches highlights a putative explanatory gap between basic and higher cognition. In this (...)
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  • Thinking Materially: Cognition as Extended and Enacted.Karenleigh A. Overmann - 2017 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 17 (3-4):354-373.
    Human cognition is extended and enacted. Drawing the boundaries of cognition to include the resources and attributes of the body and materiality allows an examination of how these components interact with the brain as a system, especially over cultural and evolutionary spans of time. Literacy and numeracy provide examples of multigenerational, incremental change in both psychological functioning and material forms. Though we think materiality, its central role in human cognition is often unappreciated, for reasons that include conceptual distribution over multiple (...)
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  • On Tools Making Minds: An Archaeological Perspective on Human Cognitive Evolution.Karenleigh A. Overmann & Thomas Wynn - 2019 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 19 (1-2):39-58.
    Using a model of cognition as extended and enactive, we examine the role of materiality in making minds as exemplified by lithics and writing, forms associated with conceptual thought and meta-awareness of conceptual domains. We address ways in which brain functions may change in response to interactions with material forms, the attributes of material forms that may cause such change, and the spans of time required for neurofunctional reorganization. We also offer three hypotheses for investigating co-influence and change in cognition (...)
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  • Concepts and How They Get That Way.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (1):153-168.
    Drawing on the material culture of the Ancient Near East as interpreted through Material Engagement Theory, the journey of how material number becomes a conceptual number is traced to address questions of how a particular material form might generate a concept and how concepts might ultimately encompass multiple material forms so that they include but are irreducible to all of them together. Material forms incorporated into the cognitive system affect the content and structure of concepts through their agency and affordances, (...)
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  • Writing, Graphic Codes, and Asynchronous Communication.Olivier Morin, Piers Kelly & James Winters - 2018 - Topics in Cognitive Science 12 (2):727-743.
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  • Mind and Material Engagement.Lambros Malafouris - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (1):1-17.
    Material Engagement Theory, which forms the focus of this special issue, is a relatively new development within cognitive archaeology and anthropology, but one that has important implications for many adjacent fields of research in phenomenology and the cognitive sciences. In How Things Shape the Mind I offered a detail exposition of the major working hypotheses and the vision of mind that it embodies. Here, introducing this special issue, more than just presenting a broad overview of MET, I seek to enrich (...)
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  • Immaterial Engagement: Human Agency and the Cognitive Ecology of the Internet.Robert Clowes - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (1):259-279.
    While 4E cognitive science is fundamentally committed to recognising the importance of the environment in making sense of cognition, its interest in the role of artefacts seems to be one of its least developed dimensions. Yet the role of artefacts in human cognition and agency is central to the sorts of beings we are. Internet technology is influencing and being incorporated into a wide variety of our cognitive processes. Yet the dominant way of viewing these changes sees technology as an (...)
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  • Cognitive Novelties, Informational Form, and Structural-Causal Explanations.Andrew Buskell - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8533-8553.
    Recent work has established a framework for explaining the origin of cognitive novelties—qualitatively distinct cognitive traits—in human beings. This niche construction approach argues that humans engineer epistemic environments in ways that facilitate the ontogenetic and phylogenetic development of such novelties. I here argue that attention to the organized relations between content-carrying informational vehicles, or informational form, is key to a valuable explanatory strategy within this project, what I call structural-causal explanations. Drawing on recent work from Cecilia Heyes, and developing a (...)
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  • Early Writing: A Cognitive Archaeological Perspective on Literacy and Numeracy.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - 2022 - Visible Language 1 (56):8-44.
    This inquiry seeks to understand how the original form of writing in Mesopotamia—the small pictures and conventions of protocuneiform—became cuneiform, a script that could not be read without acquiring the neurological and behavioral reorganizations understood today as literacy. The process is described as involving small neurological and behavioral changes realized, accumulated, and distributed to new users through interactions with and concomitant incremental changes in the material form of writing. A related inquiry focuses on why and how numerical notations differ from (...)
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  • A New Look at Old Numbers, and What It Reveals About Numeration.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - 2021 - Journal of Near Eastern Studies 2 (80):291-321.
    In this study, the archaic counting systems of Mesopotamia as understood through the Neolithic tokens, numerical impressions, and proto-cuneiform notations were compared to the traditional number-words and counting methods of Polynesia as understood through contemporary and historical descriptions of vocabulary and behaviors. The comparison and associated analyses capitalized on the ability to understand well-known characteristics of Uruk-period numbers like object-specific counting, polyvalence, and context-dependence through historical observations of Polynesian counting methods and numerical language, evidence unavailable for ancient numbers. Similarities between (...)
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  • Culture in Mind - An Enactivist Account: Not Cognitive Penetration But Cultural Permeation.Inês Hipólito, Daniel D. Hutto & Shaun Gallagher - forthcoming - In Laurence J. Kirmayer, Carol M. Worthman, Shinobu Kitayama, Robert Lemelson & Constance Cummings (eds.), Culture, mind, and brain: Emerging concepts, models, applications. New York, NY, USA:
    Advancing a radically enactive account of cognition, we provide arguments in favour of the possibility that cultural factors permeate rather than penetrate cognition, such that cognition extensively and transactionally incorporates cultural factors rather than there being any question of cultural factors having to break into the restricted confines of cognition. The paper reviews the limitations of two classical cognitivist, modularist accounts of cognition and a revisionary, new order variant of cognitivism – a Predictive Processing account of Cognition, or PPC. It (...)
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  • The Material Difference in Human Cognition.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - 2021 - Adaptive Behavior 29 (2):123-136.
    Humans leverage material forms for unique cognitive purposes: We recruit and incorporate them into our cognitive system, exploit them to accumulate and distribute cognitive effort, and use them to recreate phenotypic change in new individuals and generations. These purposes are exemplified by writing, a relatively recent tool that has become highly adept at eliciting specific psychological and behavioral responses in its users, capability it achieved by changing in ways that facilitated, accumulated, and distributed incremental behavioral and psychological change between individuals (...)
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  • A Cognitive Archaeology of Writing: Concepts, Models, Goals.Karenleigh Anne Overmann - 2021 - In Philip Boyes, Philippa Steele & Natalia Elvira Astoreca (eds.), The social and cultural contexts of historic writing practices. Oxford: Oxbow. pp. 55-72.
    Complex systems like literacy and numeracy emerge through multigenerational interactions of brains, behaviors, and material forms. In such systems, material forms – writing for language and notations for numbers – become increasingly refined to elicit specific behavioral and psychological responses in newly indoctrinated individuals. These material forms, however, differ fundamentally in things like semiotic function: language signifies, while numbers instantiate. This makes writing for language able to represent the meanings and sounds of particular languages, while notations for numbers are semantically (...)
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