Richard Menary

enculturating cognition

Monday, March 13, 2017, 18.30 - 20.00

Venue: Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Luisenstraße 56, Room 220 (first floor), 10117 Berlin 


Much thinking about cognition proceeds on the assumption that we are born with our primary cognitive faculties intact and they simply need to mature, or be fine-tuned by learning mechanisms. Alternatively, a growing number of thinkers are aligning themselves to the view that a process of enculturation transforms our basic biological faculties. What evidence is there for this process of enculturation? A long period of development, learning-driven plasticity, and a cultural environment suffused with practices, symbols, and complex social interactions all speak in its favour. In this paper I will sketch in outline the commitments of the enculturated approach and then look at several cases of enculturation. I will then defend the account against several objections.