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How Things Shape the Mind
An increasingly influential school of thought in cognitive science views the mind as embodied, extended, and distributed rather than brain-bound or “all in the head.” This shift in perspective raises important questions about the relationship between cognition and material culture, posing major challenges for philosophy, cognitive science, archaeology, and anthropology. In How Things Shape the Mind, Lambros Malafouris proposes a cross-disciplinary analytical framework for investigating the ways in which things have become cognitive extensions of the human body. Using a variety of examples and case studies, he considers how those ways might have changed from earliest prehistory to the present. Malafouris’s Material Engagement Theory definitively adds materiality—the world of things, artifacts, and material signs—into the cognitive equation. His account not only questions conventional intuitions about the boundaries and location of the human mind but also suggests that we rethink classical archaeological assumptions about human cognitive evolution.
About the Author
Lambros Malafouris is Johnson Research Fellow in Creativity, Cognition, and Material Culture at Keble College and the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford.
—Edwin Hutchins, Professor of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego
—Ian Hodder, Dunlevie Family Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University
—Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics, University of Reading