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Thinking as Communicating

Human Development, the Growth of Discourses, and Mathematizing

Thinking as Communicating
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This 2008 book is an attempt to change our thinking about thinking. Anna Sfard undertakes this task convinced that many long-standing, seemingly irresolvable quandaries regarding human development originate in ambiguities of the existing discourses on thinking. Standing on the shoulders of Vygotsky and Wittgenstein, the author defines thinking as a form of communication. The disappearance of the time-honoured thinking-communicating dichotomy is epitomised by Sfard's term, commognition, which combines communication with cognition. The commognitive tenet implies that verbal communication with its distinctive property of recursive self-reference may be the primary source of humans' unique ability to accumulate the complexity of their action from one generation to another. The explanatory power of the commognitive framework and the manner in which it contributes to our understanding of human development is illustrated through commognitive analysis of mathematical discourse accompanied by vignettes from mathematics classrooms.
Cambridge University Press; January 2008
352 pages; ISBN 9780511372780
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