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Showing posts from December, 2010

Book comment: Andy Clark “Supersizing the Mind—Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension”

The book “Supersizing the Mind—Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension” by Andy Clark is a great account for the idea that our thinking and our minds are not only a matter of the brain. Clark is developing the idea of the “extended” mind in contrast to what he calls the “brainbound” idea of thinking. Even though this book is primarily a book on modern cognitive science and its different models and explanations of thinking, it also has a broader interest and also practical consequences.
I am of course reading this book from the perspective of my own interests in interaction design and design theory. Reading the book from such a perspective makes it very easy to be supportive of the major ideas discussed since they make intuitive sense. This is interesting since Clark notes that in cognitive science this proposed theory instead is commonly seen as too radical since it goes against an intuitive understanding of thinking.
The basic argument in the book is that humans do not merely thin…

Book comment: Cass R. Sunstein "Going to extremes--how like minds unite and divide"

A few years back when I read Cass Sunstein's book "Republic 2.0"  I was immediately impressed both by the message and the argumentation. In his most recent book "Going to extremes--how like minds unite and divide" he comes back to the same topic but more grounded and with a broader scope. The topic of this book is the idea of "group polarization".  Sunstein defines the phenomenon like this: "When people find themselves in groups of like-minded types, they are especially likely to move to extremes." (p 2). This means that when people meet with other who have similar views they reinforce and strengthen these views, to the point when they may be seen as extreme. This can happen around any topic and Sunstein gives many examples in the book. People may become extreme in their views on politics (something Sunstein uses a lot), health, sports, religion, etc.  Sunstein uses the major part of the book to show research that in different ways support t…

Favorite books in Design Theory, Version Deux

In 2007 I posted a post with the same title as this one. I read this old post today and saw that it is time to update the list. This is how I introduced the list in 2007:
"I had a meeting today with a PhD student from another department and was asked what to read if you want to get into the more theoretical and philosophical aspects of design and that had influenced my work. It was a good exercise and I came at least up with a few books, even though I am sure I have forgotten some that might be even more influential on my thinking."
So, I have kept the old list and added some book that I had forgotten or that have been published since then. Even though I have only picked book that have had serious influence, the list keeps growing. I do not always have the full references but instead some have links.
The list is in no particular order, so here we go:
Lundeqvist, Jerker. (1982?) "Norm och modell" (Norm and Model). in Swedish This was Jerker's PhD thesis and it r…

Book comment: Robert Nozick "The Examined Life--philosophical meditations"

As a philosopher Robert Nozick is mainly known for his 1975 book "Anarchy, State and Utopia" where he develops his arguments within political philosophy. But to me, it is one of his later books that has inspired me, and that is "The Examined Life--philosophical meditations" that came out in 1989.

This book contains about 25 essays that cover highly diverse topics even though they all have to do with how to live a life and the meaning of life. I read this book many years ago and it made a strong impact on me. I have recently started reading it again and realize even more that it has a lot to offer for anyone with an interest in design theory.

The basic theme in the book is the notion of reflection or examination. Nozick writes "examination and reflection are not just about the other components of life: they are added within a life, alongside the rest, and by their presence call for a new overall pattern that alters how each part of life is understood." Thi…