Professor Ingar Brinck (photo) is involved in planning for a new collaboration project entitled ”Thinking in Context”, to be carried out in collaboration with Dr. Chhanda Chakraborti, Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur. The project was given SEK 75 000 as an International Planning Grant from the Swedish Research Links (Asian–Swedish
research partnership) programme in 2008. More information about the 2008 Swedish research Links grants.
The two researchers plan to examine an approach to cognition and the mind that understands cognitive processes as depending less on the agent and more on the surrounding context. An important factor in carrying out the project will be to consider possible concerns how to get the most out of the collaboration between researchers from Sweden and India – two quite different cultures that, according to some theories, should have developed different reasoning techniques in similar scientific/theoretical contexts due to physical and functional differences in the near environment.
Project abstract: The idea is that cognitive processes are distributed over social, physical, and cultural artefacts in the environment that function as resources that afford certain ways of thinking while excluding others, and that enhance cognitive processing in specific areas. Cognition and more specifically problem-solving will be described as an embodied activity that is conditioned by its environment as described above. The coupling between environment and mind in a given context allows for dynamic changes in styles of thinking that increase the complexity of thought, something than in turn will increase the complexity of the particular environmental structure (specific to that context), and so on in an accelerating loop. The researchers predict that contextual factors have an essential impact on how agents think and on the efficiency of ways of thinking. The major purpose of the planning project is to give a rough, preliminary analysis of which these contextual factors are and how to test them. The hypothesis will be further investigated in future work in Sweden and India.
Prof. Brinck is also a member of Lund University’s Centre for Cognitive Semiotics (CCS), based at the Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University, SE-221 00 Lund. Telephone: +46 46 222 00 00. CCS is an interdisciplinary meeting point for scholars within philosophy, linguistics, semiotics, cognitive science, human ecology, architecture, and the study of theatre and music, organising seminars and workshops. Its purpose is to integrate the theoretical and empirical results of both cognitive science and semiotics (the study of meaning), at the same time as it profits from ideas coming from the traditional humanities.
Dr. Maria Larsson is also involved in the Indian collaboration project.