P.D. Magnus (research)

Distributed Cognition and the Task of Science

Published in Social Studies of Science.

Versions available


This paper gives a characterization of distributed cognition (d-cog) and explores ways that the framework might be applied in studies of science. I argue that a system can only be given a d-cog description if it is thought of as performing a task. Turning our attention to science, we can try to give a global d-cog account of science or local d-cog accounts of particular scientific projects. Several accounts of science can be seen as global d-cog accounts: Robert Merton's sociology of scientific norms, Philip Kitcher's 20th-century account of cognitive labor, and Kitcher's 21st-century notion of well-ordered science. Problems that arise for them arise just because of the way that they attribute a function to science. The paper concludes by considering local d-cog accounts. Here, too, the task is the crux of the matter.


	AUTHOR = {P.D. Magnus},
	TITLE = {Distributed Cognition and the Task of Science},
	JOURNAL = {Social Studies of Science},
	YEAR = {2007},
	VOLUME = {37},
	NUMBER = {2},
	MONTH = apr,
	PAGES = {297--310}