Theiner (2015)

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Theiner, Georg. (2015) Group-sized distributed cognitive systems. In Ludwig and Jankovic (2015), 233-248.

Title Group-sized distributed cognitive systems
Resource Type collection article
Author(s) Georg Theiner
Year 2015
Collection Ludwig and Jankovic (2015)
Pages 233-248


Th e concept of distributed cognition (DC) fi gures prominently in contemporary discussions of the idea that the social, cultural, and technological distribution of cognitive labor in groups can give rise to “group cognition” or “collective intelligence.” Since there are diff erent ways of understanding the notion of DC, there is much debate about what “ontological heft ” we should attach to the thesis that groups are distributed cognitive systems. Th e goal of this chapter is to map out the conceptual terrain on which this debate is taking place. My approach is grounded in the framework of DC which has been developed, since the mid-1980s, notably by Edwin Hutchins, Donald Norman, and David Kirsh. In particular, I borrow here as my starting point their suggestion that taking up the DC perspective is not itself an empirical thesis about a certain kind of cognition; rather, it is a methodological decision to select scales of investigation from which all of cognition can be analyzed as distributed.