What is it about?

The present review applies Malafouris’ Material Engagement Theory to counting technologies (bodies and artifacts) through three central ideas: The extended mind hypothesis suggests that numerical cognition includes material devices for counting in a way that goes beyond mere causal linkage. Counting technologies have different affordances, which alters their material agency and varies numerical system outcomes. The enactive significance of material signs is compared to the communicative significance of linguistic signs to suggest that numerical system outcomes are shaped, at least in part, by the ways in which they differ.

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I am interested in how societies become numerate by using and recruiting material forms into the cognitive system for numbers over generations of collaborative effort. The manuovisually engaged domain of material forms is a primary mechanism for realizing and elaborating numerical concepts. I also look at the effect this elaborational mechanism has on conceptual content, and what this might augur about the future of human cognition.

Dr. Karenleigh A. Overmann
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

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This page is a summary of: Materiality and Numerical Cognition, December 2016, Oxford University Press (OUP), DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190204112.003.0005.
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