Link roundup: Books / Materiality / Cognition / Communication

Links relevant to the materiality of cognition, books. and communication.


N. Katherine Hayles – Cognitive Assemblages: Technical Agency & Human Interactions [paywall]

UAAVS (unmanned autonomous aerial multivehicle systems: drone swarms) as vehicles of extended cognition. “I want to define cognition as a process of interpreting information in contexts that connect it with meaning. This view foregrounds interpretation, choice, and decision and highlights the special properties that cognition bestows, expanding the traditional view of cognition as human thought to processes occurring at multiple levels and sites within biological life forms and technical systems. Cognitive assemblage emphasizes cognition as the common element among parts and as the functionality by which parts connect.”

xWhat’s the Matter with Cognition? A ‘Vygotskian’ Perspective on Material Engagement Theory. Georg Theiner & Chris Drain

From the abstract: “By tracing out more clearly the conceptual contours of ‘material engagement,’ and firming up its ontological commitments, the main goal of this article is to help refine Malafouris’ fertile approach. In particular, we argue for a rapprochement between MET and the tradition of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, based on the ‘Vygotskian’ hypothesis of scaffolded and/or distributed cognition.”

xThe Hand, an Organ of the Mind | Zdravko Radman, editor, MIT Press
From the publisher: “The contributors explore the possibility that the hand, far from being the merely mechanical executor of preconceived mental plans, possesses its own know-how, enabling “enhanded” beings to navigate the natural, social, and cultural world without engaging propositional thought, consciousness, and deliberation.”
hippocampusFor Kids, Learning Is Moving [How spatial embodiment underpins the development of memory] – Nautilus
“Glenberg’s research for the past two decades has focused on the embodied theory of cognition, the idea that cognitive processes—both conscious and unconscious—are not disconnected from the body, as suggested by the philosopher René Descartes. Instead, the fact that we have legs, arms, eyes, ears, a motor system, and an emotional system underlie both our experiences of the world and our thinking. “It makes no sense for a faculty like cognition to have evolved without consideration of the body,” says Glenberg. “We’re not computers, we’re biological systems. We’re not programmed, we’re evolved. We should consider human cognition as flowing from the cognition of other animals.” “

x“What was the author trying to say?” is the worst question an English teacher can ask | Margaret Atwood on “meaning”

 “I’m not a Platonist,” [Atwood] said. “I don’t think the meaning exists somewhere up here and then is translated down into all this verbiage. I believe the meaning emerges out of the language and that the reader is the musician of the text.” A text is an instrument, not a container.