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COGS1 Review, Hutchins lecture. 2-13-08 Adrienne Moore. What culture, what question, and why was that culture appropriate for the question?. Trobriand Islands, of Papua New Guinea, in the Western Pacific

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COGS1 Review, Hutchins lecture

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Cogs1 review hutchins lecture

COGS1 Review, Hutchins lecture


Adrienne Moore

What culture what question and why was that culture appropriate for the question

What culture, what question, and why was that culture appropriate for the question?

  • Trobriand Islands, of Papua New Guinea, in the Western Pacific

  • Do people in other cultures think as we do? Do people in “primitive” cultures think “primitively”?

    • And a related “epistemological” question, What can we know about how others think?

    • And a related methodological question, How can we investigate how others think?

  • appropriate because the culture was very isolated, technologically simple, and socially unlike our own

What are some differences between how primitive cultures were viewed prior to the 1970s vs today

What are some differences between how “primitive” cultures were viewed prior to the 1970s vs today?

  • Post-colonial thinking emerged in the 1970s

  • Colonialism: control by a country over a colony it has claimed ownership of, or exploitation of a weaker country by a stronger

    • Technology is a reflection of mind; primitive technology implies primitive mind

Methods that work and methods that don t work

Methods that work and methods that don’t work

  • Don’t work:

    • Tests that aren’t Language-free and Culture-free

    • Standard IQ tests

      • Adult non-literate, non-western subsistence farmers score like western 5th graders on IQ tests; their children who attend schools score at normal grade level

      • Decontextualization is not natural, it is learned

  • Work if implemented and interpreted correctly:

  • Immersion method +

    • Raven Progressive Matrices

    • Inferring a rule from a card game

    • Rorschach Ink Blots

    • Constructing narratives about images

Logical inferences

logical inferences

  • P = premise; Q = conclusion

  • Modus ponens: P implies Q

    • Associated error – affirmation of the con-sequent: P implies Q, therefore Q implies P – false!

  • Modus tollens: P implies Q; not Q; therefore not P

    • Associated error – denial of the antecedent: P implies Q; not P; therefore not Q – false!

Land litigation

Land litigation

  • Trobriand land litigation is cognitive, culturally meaningful, & public – it’s cognition in context

  • CONCLUSION -- When reasoning about meaningful material in a meaningful context, non-literate, third-world people use the same inference types as you and I use

    • found about 100 examples of modus tollens in 18 months

Technology and mind

technology and mind

  • We too have stone age brains, but we live in a space age culture

    • Minds are “what brains do”, and brain changes evolve very slowly

    • Cognition is *not* just what brains do

      • Technology greatly enhances our cognitive abilities

      • Cultural Practices greatly enhance our cognitive abilities (literacy, numeracy)

      • having a body greatly enhances cognitive abilities (hands, movement)

For midterm also know

For Midterm, also know:

  • How was expertise acquired among children in Trobriand Culture?

  • Who are Malinowski, Luria, Cole, and Scribner and what did each contribute to cultural anthropology?

  • Wikipedia “Distributed Cognition” and read

  • Notice connections between Christine Johnson’s lecture and this one – she also discussed “culture”, use of tools/technology to enhance cognitive ability, and the difficulty of knowing whether other intelligences are like ours or not – all with reference to non-human cognition

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