Abstraction and Representation: Essays on the Cultural by Peter Damerow

By Peter Damerow

The writer of this publication is affiliated with the guts for improvement and Socialization of the Max Planck Institute for Human improvement and Ed­ ucation in Berlin and heads its application on tradition and cognition which de­ votes its labors to the reconstruction of clinical techniques via historical past in a viewpoint of what should be known as "historical epistemology." he's additionally a member of a similar study team within the newly based Max Planck Institute for the heritage of technological know-how in Berlin. might be this double association throws a few gentle at the scope of Damerow's medical pursuits. In any occasion it is going to clarify why representatives of either those associations take part an attempt to introduce Peter Damerow's writings to an English talking audi­ ence. Damerow's scholarship levels throughout greatly assorted parts together with philosophy and heritage of technological know-how, psychology, and schooling. between his fields of workmanship are the emergence of writing, early Babylonian mathe­ matics, the heritage of mathematics, the connection among natural and utilized arithmetic, the idea and techniques of arithmetic guideline, the tran­ sition from preclassical to classical mechanics, and the historical past and conception of relativity.

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Extra resources for Abstraction and Representation: Essays on the Cultural Evolution of Thinking

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In the case of logico-mathematical abstraction, on the other hand, what is given is an agglomeration of actions or operations previously made by the subject himself, with their results. In this case, abstraction consists first of taking cognizance of the existence of one of these actions or operations, that is to say, noting its possible interest, having neglected it so far ... Second, the action noted has to be 'reflected' (in the physical sense of the term) by being projected onto another plane-for example, the plane of thought as opposed to that of practical action, or the plane of abstract systematization as opposed to that of concrete thought (say, algebra versus arithmetic).

An error in logic or in mathematics is the result of an individual slip, of factors of attention, memory, and the like, which have nothing to do with the structure being used, whereas a perceptual structure, for example, has a probabilistic aspect that excludes any kind of composition other than by approximate regulations. Thus, it can be seen that during the gradual extension of the knowledge 'environment,' that is, the sum total of external objects on which the intelligence is brought to bear, and during the gradual dissociation of forms and their contents, that is, the elabora- ACTION AND COGNITION 19 tion of abstract and conceptual 'forms' as opposed to perceptual or sensorimotor forms, and, a fortiori, as opposed to the material forms of the organism, the regulations whose task it is to control cognitive exchanges with this environment, that is, to organize experience in terms of deductive frames, will reach a level of precision never found in elementary regulations.

The theory of cognitive structures provides an answer with regard to the nature and the conditions for the development of this form of knowledge which, in this context, is distinguished from empirical certainty by the concept of logical necessity. For the purpose of delineating this answer, let us take a closer look at the strategies that might be used in arranging the sticks! If some of the sticks have already been ordered according to size, then a few comparisons will suffice to pinpoint the place where any of the remaining sticks will fit into the ordered series.

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