Distributed Cognition in Aid of Interdisciplinary Collaborations

Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 56)


What does it take to perform collaborative interdisciplinarity with good epistemic and academic results? This pragmatical question, slightly rephrased, has been one of the few key issues of the philosophical studies on interdisciplinarity since the Seventies. In this paper I aim at addressing that question adopting a conceptual framework weirdly not yet used for this purpose: distributed cognition theories. In particular I will focus on the embodied, emerging, and extended nature of cognitive activities at the core of successful examples of collaborative interdisciplinarity. In the first section of this paper I will briefly review the literature on interdisciplinary collaborations. In the second section I will present the perspective from which I aim at addressing their recurrent problems: a broadly conceived distributed cognition theory, which incorporates insights from the extended mind approach, and from the theories on emerging and embodied cognition. In the third section of the paper I will analyze some of the usual emerging problems of collaborative interdisciplinarity by referring to some well-documented case studies. Then, I will propose some ways to face those problems in the organization and development of a collaborative interdisciplinary project, referring to it as a complex system of distributed cognitive activities.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities, Philosophy SectionUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly

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