Transcending the Situation: On the Context-dependence of Practice-based Cognition

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Abstract

Socio-material practices entail what Per Linell (2009) terms ‘situationtranscendence’ in that they allow agents to engage in purposeful activity that exceeds the spatiotemporal constraints of a given situation. Radical perspectives in
cognitive science offer insights into the cognitive dynamics involved: while those
supportive of Distributed Cognition (DCog) analyze how cognition is distributed
synchronously across situations, proponents of 4E Cognition show that cognition extends in a diachronic manner. Despite their differences, both perspectives
acknowledge that agents must be sensitive to contextual information in order to
accomplish cognitive tasks. In fact, both analyze the functionality of socio-cultural resources (e.g. computers, notebooks, instruments etc.) in relation to particular contexts and tasks, and focus on how such ressources give rise to the cognitive resources required for different kinds of cognitive activity. Having
described key positions in the literature, the paper presents a case study on
the practice of leakage detection in heating pipes as this is done by professionals
in a Danish utility company. Accordingly, the paper explores situation-transcendence and, more specifically, how contextual constraints connect with and
emerge from the synchronic and diachronic processes involved as professionals
engage in data analysis, internal and external coordination and on-site exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContext Dependence in Language, Action, and Cognition
EditorsTadeusz Ciecierski, Paweł Grabarczyk
PublisherDe Gruyter
Publication date2021
Pages209–228
ISBN (Electronic)9783110702286
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Series Epistemic Studies
Volume46

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