Traditionally, the concept of cognition has been tied to the brain or the nervous system. Recent work in various noncomputational cognitive sciences has enlarged the category of “cognitive phenomena” to include the organism and its environment, distributed cognition across networks of actors, and basic cellular functions. The meaning, scope, and limits of ‘cognition’ are no longer clear or well-defined. In order to properly delimit the purview of the cognitive sciences, there is a strong need for a clarification of the definition of cognition. This paper will consider the outer bounds of that definition. Not all cognitive behaviors of a given organism are amenable to an analysis at the organismic or organism-environment level. In some cases, emergent cognition in collective biological and human social systems arises that is irreducible to the sum cognitions of their constituent entities. The group and social systems under consideration are more extensive and inclusive than those considered in studies of distributed cognition to date. The implications for this ultimately expand the purview of the cognitive sciences and bring back a renewed relevance for anthropology and introduce sociology on the traditional six-pronged interdisciplinary wheel of the cognitive sciences.
Favela, Luis H.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Orlando (Main) Campus
Neemeh, Zachariah A., "Flocks, Swarms, Crowds, and Societies: On the Scope and Limits of Cognition" (2017). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 191.