Download e-book for kindle: Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures on Mind and Culture by Jerome Bruner

By Jerome Bruner

ISBN-10: 0674003608

ISBN-13: 9780674003606

Jerome Bruner argues that the cognitive revolution, with its present fixation on brain as "information processor; " has led psychology clear of the deeper target of knowing brain as a writer of meanings. merely by means of breaking out of the constraints imposed through a computational version of brain do we snatch the targeted interplay by which brain either constitutes and is constituted by way of tradition.

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Extra resources for Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures on Mind and Culture

Example text

It is worth asking how the views of such intellecrual heroes as Darwin, Marx, and Freud gradually become transformed and absorbed into folk psychology, and I say this to make plain that (as we shall see in the final chapter) culrural psychology is often indistinguishable from culrural history. Antimentalistic fury about folk psychology simply misses the point. The idea of jettisoning it in the interest of getting rid of mental states in our everyday explanations of human behavior is tantamount to throwing away the very phenomena that psychology needs to explain.

That is a typical constructivist debate and a typical pragmatic procedure for resolving it. Is it relativism? Is it the dreaded form of relativism where every belief is as good as every other? Does anybody really hold such a view, or is relativism, rather, something conjured up by essentialist philosophers to shore up their faith in the "unvarnished truth"-an imaginary playmate forever assigned the role of spoiler in the game of pure reason? I think Rorty is right when he says that relativism is not the stumbling block for constructivism and pragmatism.

As Clifford Geertz puts it, without the constituting role of culture we arc "unworkable monstrosities . . " 18 These arc all by now rather banal conclusions in anthropology, but not in psychology. There arc three good reasons to mention them here at the very start of our discussion. The first is a deep metbodological point: the constitutive argument. ago-Cfydc Kluckhohn used o insist, human beings do not terminate at their own skins; they arc expressions of a culture. To treat the world as an indifferent flow of information to be processed by individuals each on his or her own terms is to lose sight of how individuals are formed and how they function.

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Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures on Mind and Culture by Jerome Bruner


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