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Depew 2 C. Wicken 7 1. Department of Philosophy Temple University Philadelphia 4. Personalised recommendations.

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Cite article How to cite? ENW EndNote. Buy options. Human cognition can off-load cognitive work onto the symbolic environment so that it holds or even manipulates information for us. We harvest that information on a need-to-know basis.

Philosophy: Life emergent

That makes the environment part of the cognitive system. These interactions become part of our cognitive systems. Our thinking, decision making, and future are all impacted by our environmental transactions. For human cognition, managing the lived environment is not just biological but social as well. We must regularly manage each other and our institutions. Distinctively human cognition is from birth and perhaps before birth a matter of brains cognizing together in concert.

For humans, experience is culture — cognizing the environment is thoroughly shaped by the transmitted modes of cultural activities engaging human nervous system. The brain exhibits much dedicated modular architecture, but massive parallel and networked processing is dominant. The brain is not hierarchical, but more democratic.

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Nerve centers across the brains are intricately interconnected with each other, so most any part of the brain has some direct or indirect systemic link to every other part of the brain. There is no inner Cartesian theater where all information is gathered and simultaneously experienced; experience at best displays rough continuities. There is no executive command center giving orders to the rest of the brain; deliberation at best guides habitual motor action.

Ordinary cognition does not primarily aim at static representation in general but at dynamic adequacy in specific situations. These complex modes of thought, seemingly far from mere matter or biology, remain embodied and functional for practical success. Higher selfconscious cognitive processes reflection, inference, hypothesis testing are socially invented and taught capacities to attentively focus on ways to generalize practical habits for flexible use.

These higher social capacities serve to coordinate group cooperative practices where some creativity is needed to maintain efficiency in the face of unstable conditions. Among these social practices are linguistic communication, symbolic representation, and logical inference. Even pure imagination, conceptual play, and aesthetic contemplation are creative capacities existing to refine practice, even though we can also perform them in isolation from practical concerns. These creative modes permitted, among other things, the fixation of concepts and select relations among concepts, leading to reasoning.

The most complex modes of rational thinking i.

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Such things as logic, science, and all sophisticated modes of creative intelligence are culturally-designed and educationally-transmitted technologies. The epistemic criteria for knowledge is the technological test of practicality. Scientific knowledge is continuous with technology and ordinary practical skill.