Developing Scaffolds in Evolution, Culture, and Cognition


"Scaffolding" is a concept that is becoming widely used across disciplines. This book investigates common threads in diverse applications of scaffolding, including theoretical biology, cognitive science, social theory, science and technology studies, and human development. Despite its widespread use, the concept of scaffolding is often given short shrift; the contributors to this volume, from a range of disciplines, offer a more fully developed analysis of scaffolding that highlights the role of temporal and temporary resources in development, broadly conceived, across concepts of culture, cognition, and evolution.

The book emphasizes reproduction, repeated assembly, and entrenchment of heterogeneous relations, parts, and processes as a complement to neo-Darwinism in the developmentalist tradition of conceptualizing evolutionary change. After describing an integration of theoretical perspectives that can accommodate different levels of analysis and connect various methodologies, the book discusses multilevel organization; differences (and reciprocality) between individuals and institutions as units of analysis; and perspectives on development that span brains, careers, corporations, and cultural cycles.

Contributors: Colin Allen, Linnda R. Caporael, James Evans, Elihu M. Gerson, Simona Ginsburg, James R. Griesemer, Christophe Heintz, Eva Jablonka, Sanjay Joshi, Shu-Chen Li, Pamela Lyon, Sergio F. Martinez, Christopher J. May, Johann Peter Murmann, Stuart A. Newman, Jeffrey C. Schank, Iddo Tavory, Georg Theiner, Barbara Hoeberg Wimsatt, William C. Wimsatt

Table of Contents

  1. Series Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. Developing Scaffolds: An Introduction
  5. I. Toward Materiality: Three Perspectives
  6. 1. Reproduction and the Scaffolded Development of Hybrids

    James R. Griesemer

  7. 2. Evolution, Groups, and Scaffolded Minds

    Linnda R. Caporael

  8. 3. Entrenchment and Scaffolding: An Architecture for a Theory of Cultural Change

    William C. Wimsatt

  9. II. Scope and Scale
  10. 4. Excitable Media in Medias Res: How Physics Scaffolds Metazoan Development and Evolution

    Stuart A. Newman

  11. 5. Communication and the Evolution of Cognition

    James A. Evans

  12. 6. Models as Scaffolds for Understanding

    Jeffrey C. Schank, Christopher J. May, and Sanjay S. Joshi

  13. III. Generativity, Entrenchment, and Boundaries
  14. 7. Stress in Mind: A Stress Response Hypothesis of Cognitive Evolution

    Pamela Lyon

  15. 8. Onwards and Upwards with the Extended Mind: From Individual to Collective Epistemic Action

    Georg Theiner

  16. 9. Scaffolding on Core Cognition

    Christophe Heintz

  17. IV. Granularity and Reciprocality
  18. 10. Symbols as Scaffolding

    Colin Allen

  19. 11. Technological Scaffoldings for the Evolution of Culture and Cognition

    Sergio F. Martinez

  20. 12. Some Problems of Analyzing Cultural Evolution

    Elihu M. Gerson

  21. V. Reproduction and Development
  22. 13. Scaffolding in Economics, Management, and the Design of Technologies

    Johann Peter Murmann

  23. 14. The Reproduction of the Social: A Developmental System Approach

    Iddo Tavory, Simona Ginsburg, and Eva Jablonka

  24. 15. Biocultural Coconstruction of Brain Plasticity across the Life Span: From Cognitive Training to Neurotransmitters

    Shu-Chen Li

  25. 16. Footholds and Handholds: Scaffolding Cognition and Career

    Barbara Horberg Wimsatt

  26. Developing Scaffolds: An Epilogue

    James R. Griesemer, Linnda R. Caporael, and William C. Wimsatt

  27. Contributors
  28. Index