Chapter

Perspectival Knowledge and Distributed Cognition

in Scientific Perspectivism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780226292120
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226292144 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226292144.003.0005
Perspectival Knowledge and Distributed Cognition

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The argument that scientific knowledge is perspectival has proceeded largely by reflecting on the actual practice of science itself. The argument that theorizing is perspectival did, however, appeal to a conception of modeling derived largely from the philosophy of science. Nevertheless, for the most part, the conclusion that scientific knowledge is perspectival stands on its own. This chapter now seeks additional support for this conclusion from another source, the cognitive study of science. Many of the activities of scientists are directed toward the acquisition of new knowledge. Because acquiring knowledge is indisputably a cognitive activity, we can say that, to a large extent, science is a cognitive activity. It is thus an appropriate object for the application of the concepts and methods of the cognitive sciences. The chapter considers only one concept from the cognitive sciences, that of distributed cognition. It is argued that much of the cognitive activity of scientists involves the operation of distributed cognitive systems, most of which incorporate the sorts of instruments and models that have been characterized as perspectival.

Keywords: scientific knowledge; cognitive study; cognitive sciences; distribution cognition; cognitive systems

Chapter.  8581 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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