Clarence Joldersma — The handiness of hands: enactive cognition in the woodshop

Prof Clarence Joldersma Calvin University Abstract: In this paper, I develop an enactive account of cognition as it emerges from my experience in the carpenter’s woodshop. My focus is exploring the role of the hand in cognition in this setting.…

Clarence Joldersma -- The handiness of hands: enactive cognition in the woodshop

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Prof Clarence Joldersma
Calvin University

Abstract: In this paper, I develop an enactive account of cognition as it emerges from my experience in the carpenter’s woodshop. My focus is exploring the role of the hand in cognition in this setting. By handiness I mean the dexterity of hand use that emerges when someone is completing a task, such as assembling a kitchen cabinet or building a toy train or cutting a canoe paddle: handiness emerges in the interaction between bodily skills and relevant woodshop affordances. In such dynamic interactions, new meanings and understandings manifest themselves. Enactive cognition is described as a form of self-organization emerging from interactions between individual and world. If handiness is a form of making sense of the world (thinking), perhaps “whatever we can do in our heads has its origins in what we can do with our hands” (Gallagher, 2017, p. 210)..

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