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Workshop: Hacking Societies, Habits and Rituals, Berkeley 2019
Open AccessProceedings

Ritual Artifacts as Memory Stores of Cognitive Habits

Department of Philosophy and Computational Philosophy Laboratory, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Conference Morphological, Natural, Analog and Other Unconventional Forms of Computing for Cognition and Intelligence (MORCOM), Berkeley, CA, USA, 2–6 June 2019.
Proceedings 2020, 47(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2020047067 (registering DOI)
Published: 7 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of IS4SI 2019 Summit)
Ritual artifacts are produced by individuals and/or small groups, left over-there, in the environment, perceivable, sharable, and more or less available. Artifacts of this type can be considered cognitive mediators, insofar as they are collective memory stores of related habits, in the sense that they mediate and make available the story of their origin and the actions related to it, which can be learnt and/or re-activated when needed. Indeed, symbolic habits embedded in rites can also be seen as memory mediators which maximize abducibility, which is the human capacity to guess hypotheses, because they maximize recoverability of already stored cognitive contents. In sum, once suitable representations are externalized in a ritual artifact, they can be sensorially picked up and manipulated to re-internalize them when humans attend the rite: the externalization can be seen as the fruit of the so-called “disembodiment of the mind” as a significant cognitive perspective, able to show some basic features of what I called manipulative abduction, which I will describe in my presentation. When analyzing artifacts and habits in ritual settings, it is important to remember that interesting cases of creative meaning formation are also at play. Actually, we can distinguish two kinds of habits that are at play in rites: (a) a knowledge-based kind of habit, for the analysis of which the concept of “affordance” is useful, which also plays a pivotal role in the justification of the agent’s own beliefs; and (b) an ignorance-based kind of habit, which will be proved as necessary for the beginning of thought, and which is at the base of the ampliative abductive reasoning.
Keywords: mimetic minds; mimetic bodies; eco-cognitive computationalism; morphology; overcomputationalism mimetic minds; mimetic bodies; eco-cognitive computationalism; morphology; overcomputationalism
MDPI and ACS Style

Magnani, L. Ritual Artifacts as Memory Stores of Cognitive Habits. Proceedings 2020, 47, 67.

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