Culture, Cognition and “Socialization”

Culture and cognition studies in sociology are mainly concerned with the construction,  transmission, and transformation of shared stocks of knowledge. This was clear in the classical theoretical foundations of contemporary work in the sociology of culture laid out in Parsons’s middle period functionalism (Parsons 1951) and in Berger and Luckmann’s …

What’s Cultural About Analogical Mapping?

Analogical mapping is a cognitive process whereby a particular target is understood by analogizing from a particular source. For example, Lakoff and Johnson (1999) have observed that people often reason about love metaphorically as a journey. In a previous post I discussed some experimental evidence supporting the claim that activating …

Exaption: Alternatives to the Modular Brain, Part II

Scientists discovered the part of the brain responsible for… In my last post, I discuss one alternative to the modular theory of the mind/brain relationship: connectionism. Such a model is antithetical to modularity in that there are only distributed networks of neurons in the brain, not special-purpose processors. One strength …

Folk Psychology and Legal Responsibility

If folk psychology is false, is legal responsibility dead? If legal responsibility is dead, is everything permitted? Maybe not, but such questions have received growing attention in the legal field, as the field confronts the prospect of an emergent “neuro-law.” Neuroscience challenges the unacknowledged background of commitments to theories of …

Bourdieu as a (Hetero)phenomenologist

Toward the beginning of Pierre Bourdieu’s newly published 1999-2000 lectures from the College de France (Manet: A Symbolic Revolution), a perplexed art student asks Bourdieu the following question, one that the verbatim lectures show to have worried and preoccupied the great theorist of practice: Your recent conferences have astonished me. …

Connectionism: Alternatives to the Modular Brain, Part I

In my previous post, I introduced the task of cognitive neuroscience, which is (largely) to locate processes we associate with the mind in the structures of the brain and nervous system (Tressoldi et al. 2012). I also discussed the classical and commonsensical approach which conceptualizes the brain and mind relationship …