By Jerome Bruner
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 through breaking out of the restrictions imposed via a computational version of brain will we take hold of the certain 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
At its furthest reach, indeed, it even assigns such concepts as "freedom» and "dignity" to the realm of illusion, though they are central to the belief system of a democratic culture. At this far reach, it is sometimes said of psychology that it is anticultural, antihistorical, and that its reductionism is anti-intellectual. Perhaps. But it is also true that the "village atheist" zeal of many extreme positivists has enlivened debates about the nature of man, and that their insistence on "objective'' or "operational" research procedures has had a healthily astringent effect on our speculations.
Cultures characteristically devise "prosthetic devices" that permit us to transcend "raw'' biological limits-for example, the limits on memory capacity or the limits on our auditory range. The reverse view I am proposing is that it is culture, not biology, that shapes human life and the human mind, that gives meaning to action by situating its underlying intentional states in an interpretive system. It does this by imposing the patterns inherent in the culture's symbolic systems-its language and discourse modes, the forms of logical and narrative explication, and the patterns of mutually dependent communal life.
And this, of course, gives the game away. If you accept utility theory (or one of its variants) you simply assign values to choices in a manner that makes choice behavior conform to its tenets. Rational choice theory has little or nothing to say about how values arise--whether they are gut reactions, whether historically determined, or what. Both the irrationalist and the rationalist approaches to values miss one crucial point: values inhere in commitment to "ways of life," and ways of life in their complex interaction constitute a culture.
Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures on Mind and Culture by Jerome Bruner