Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Navy Navigation 101

Insightful...provocative...a delightful read. Cognition in the Wild is definitely approachable in its narrative approach. However, I'm waiting for the meat. Understandably, Hutchins needed the first couple of chapters to provide the context to understand how important context is in cognition. His presentation of the Navy world is very thorough, and I feel like I now actually know something about our country's armed forces, which is impressive in itself. However, with only a couple of chapters under my belt, I feel like that's all that I know, and that's no cognitive wonder.

Where Hutchins is building, though, gives me a feeling of potential. For example, his discussion of the importance of history in understanding "even the most commonplace" concepts of navigation smells a bit Fleck-ish, since "progress" is contextually defined. But that's as much as I've really gotten. Yep. That's as deep as my cognitive hole goes this week. I'm sure Hutchins will increase the depth of my understanding over the next two weeks, though, and I'm content to ponder Micronesian emergency islands as a sigh of relief that I'm not in the Navy pecking chain escapes my lips....



Blogger asw said...

I relate to your post. I felt that the first two chapters of the book were good, but I was looking for more "meat" as well. I felt that the third chapter was really starting to get to the heart of the matter. But, I do agree that the first two chapters are a little hard to delve into as Hutchins describes so well the Palau and its inner workings. But, as I realized as I was reading through these chapters, I was thinking of navigation in a different way than before and have Hutchins to thank for that. By this I mean, that my ideas of how navigation works in the literal sense and also how my mind navigates through my daily learning experiences too. Did you experience this as well?

11:12 PM  
Blogger jmj said...


I agree; Hutchins does an excellent job foregrounding information in his narrative that he wants the reader to remember later. The narrative is--frustratingly, because you can't skim through it--part of the theory in so way that I can't quite put my finger on yet (I will have to do some rereading, I guess). It is a very skilled piece of rhetoric.

11:09 AM  
Blogger mdl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:27 PM  
Blogger mdl said...

Posted something with embarassing typos: here's the second version:

I once worked for a woman who had been in the Navy most of her life. She informed me that Navy stands for: Never Again Volunteer Yourself.

4:29 PM  

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