Group cognition in pragmatism, developmental psychology and aesthetics

Author's Department

Philosophy Department

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Pragmatism Today

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From embodied pragmatic and phenomenological standpoints, the body is a system that falls into synchrony by coordinating around worldly contours. This engenders sensorimotor organization that constitutes perception, a view also defended by enactivists. I examine how similar coordinations occur in group contexts. I begin with a Deweyan account of perception. I then consider group action, locating Colwyn Trevarthen's developmental research in a Deweyan framework, later linking it to Dewey's aesthetics, which helps explain how perceptual and cognitive coherence emerge. I connect all this to the notion of "social affordances" with the aim of expanding on Dewey's idea of experience as culture. I conclude that our psychological landscape begins as overwhelmingly social and remains so throughout life. By asserting this, I do not deny that physical movement is at play from day one, but suggest that it is intertwined with social life and social affordances all along, rather than the latter being built upon the former.

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