How things shape the mind : a theory of material engagement by Lambros Malafouris

By Lambros Malafouris

An more and more influential university of proposal in cognitive technology perspectives the brain as embodied, prolonged, and allotted instead of brain-bound or "all within the head." This shift in standpoint increases vital questions on the dating among cognition and fabric tradition, posing significant demanding situations for philosophy, cognitive technology, archaeology, and anthropology. In How issues form the Mind, Lambros Malafouris proposes a cross-disciplinary analytical framework for investigating the ways that issues became cognitive extensions of the human physique. utilizing quite a few examples and case stories, he considers how these methods may need replaced from earliest prehistory to the current. Malafouris's fabric Engagement concept definitively provides materiality -- the realm of items, artifacts, and fabric symptoms -- into the cognitive equation. His account not just questions traditional intuitions concerning the limitations and site of the human brain but additionally means that we reconsider classical archaeological assumptions approximately human cognitive evolution.

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The mind works through the body. To localise it exclusively within the brain is not strictly correct. Moreover, we often think not only through the body, but beyond it. (Renfrew 2007, 119) My aim is to build on the above ideas and make their philosophical and epistemological grounding more explicit. This book draws and extends on Renfrew’s original proposal in order to construct a new cross-disciplinary foundation toward a theory of material engagement (Renfrew 2004; Malafouris 2004). Material Engagement Theory can be seen as having much in common with many aspects of post-processual thinking and with the recent emphasis in archaeology on the “dialectical and recursive relationship between persons and things” (Tilley, Keane, Küchler, Rowlands, and Spyer 2006, 4).

On this construal, what archaeologists can be said to excavate are the residues of past intelligent behavior and assemblages of material signs. Those cognitive traces, in other words, embody the possibility, and thus reiterate the archaeological aspiration, that if properly analyzed and interpreted they might give us a glimpse of what went on inside the head of the prehistoric individual. But notice the assumption here about where true cognitive states and processes are supposedly instantiated.

For another, the more we come to learn and understand about things, the more they look like a genuine element of what it means to be a human cognizer. An important postulate of MET is that the sort of stuff that makes up the mind can be equally found located within and outside the skin. ” Andy Clark, in his book Supersizing the Mind, also speaks of a similar indifference to the location of mental resources, which he calls “the Hypothesis of Cognitive Impartiality” (2008a, 121–123). Nonetheless, Clark’s critique of the “brain-bound” mind seems to go only halfway.

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How things shape the mind : a theory of material engagement by Lambros Malafouris
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