Book review: Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas, written by Geoffrey B. Saxe [Book Review]

Journal of Cognition and Culture 14 (3-4):331-333 (2014)
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A review of Geoffrey B. Saxe, Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas. Saxe offers a comprehensive treatment of social and linguistic change in the number systems used for economic exchange in the Oksapmin community of Papua New Guinea. By taking the cognition-is-social approach, Saxe positions himself within emerging perspectives that view cognition as enacted, situated, and extended. The approach is somewhat risky in that sociality surely does not exhaust cognition. Brains, bodies, and materiality also contribute to cognition—causally at least, and possibly constitutively as well (as argued by Clark & Chalmers; Renfrew & Malafouris). This omission necessarily excludes the material dimension of numeracy.

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Karenleigh Anne Overmann
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs


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