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Cognition in the Wild

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Edwin Hutchins combines his background as an anthropologist and an open ocean racing sailor and navigator in this account of how anthropological methods can be combined with cognitive theory to produce a new reading of cognitive science. His theoretical insights are grounded in an extended analysis of ship navigation — its computational basis, its historical roots, its social organization, and the details of its implementation in actual practice aboard large ships. The result is an unusual interdisciplinary approach to cognition in culturally constituted activities outside the laboratory — "in the wild."

Hutchins examines a set of phenomena that have fallen in the cracks between the established disciplines of psychology and anthropology, bringing to light a new set of relationships between culture and cognition. The standard view is that culture affects the cognition of individuals. Hutchins argues instead that cultural activity systems have cognitive properties of their own that are different from the cognitive properties of the individuals who participate in them. Each action for bringing a large naval vessel into port, for example, is informed by culture: the navigation team can be seen as a cognitive and computational system.

Introducing Navy life and work on the bridge, Hutchins makes a clear distinction between the cognitive properties of an individual and the cognitive properties of a system. In striking contrast to the usual laboratory tasks of research in cognitive science, he applies the principal metaphor of cognitive science — cognition as computation (adopting David Marr's paradigm) — to the navigation task. After comparing modern Western navigation with the method practiced in Micronesia, Hutchins explores the computational and cognitive properties of systems that are larger than an individual. He then turns to an analysis of learning or change in the organization of cognitive systems at several scales. Hutchins's conclusion illustrates the costs of ignoring the cultural nature of cognition, pointing to the ways in which contemporary cognitive science can be transformed by new meanings and interpretations.

A Bradford Book

Synopsis:

Edwin Hutchins combines his background as an anthropologist and an open-ocean racing sailor in this account of how anthropological methods can be combined with cognitive theory to produce an new reading of cognitive science. Hutchins examines a set of phenomena that have fallen between psychology and anthropology, bringing to light a new set of relationships between culture and cognition. His conclusion illustrates the costs of ignoring the cultural nature of cognition, pointing to the ways in which contemporary cognitive science can be transformed by new meanings and interpretations.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780262581462
Author:
Hutchins, Edwin
Publisher:
Bradford Book
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
Cognitive Psychology
Subject:
Cognition
Subject:
Psychology-Cognitive Science
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Cognition in the Wild
Publication Date:
19960831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 17
Language:
English
Illustrations:
95
Pages:
408
Dimensions:
10 x 6.7 x 1 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness

Cognition in the Wild New Trade Paper
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Product details 408 pages Bradford Book - English 9780262581462 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Edwin Hutchins combines his background as an anthropologist and an open-ocean racing sailor in this account of how anthropological methods can be combined with cognitive theory to produce an new reading of cognitive science. Hutchins examines a set of phenomena that have fallen between psychology and anthropology, bringing to light a new set of relationships between culture and cognition. His conclusion illustrates the costs of ignoring the cultural nature of cognition, pointing to the ways in which contemporary cognitive science can be transformed by new meanings and interpretations.
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