Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Report on Extended Cognition Workshop

In the 'report on conferences' spirit, I've just written a report on the Extended Cognition Workshop which I organized and which took place in Amsterdam over the last days. Again, it's not really M-Phi material, but here is the link in case anyone is interested. Actually, there were two talks within M-Phi remit: my talk on an extended cognition perspective on formal languages and formalisms (very similar to the talk I gave in Munich a few weeks ago, 'Cognitive motivations for treating formalisms as calculi' -- video podcast here), and Helen de Cruz's talk offering an analysis of the role of external devices (notations, calculating devices) in mathematics from the point of view of extended cognition. She presented a case study on early Chinese algebra, arguing that Chinese mathematicians discovered a precursor of the method of Gaussian elimination, specifically prompted by the particular perceptual properties of the counting rods they used to calculate. Very cool stuff!

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