Tuesday, February 20th, 2018, 7pm

Distributed Cognition and Generic Situatedness

Patricia Reed

HEAD – Genève,Boulevard Helvétique 9, 1205 Geneva, seminar room CCC, salle 27, 2nd floor

In her text Situated Knowledges, Donna Haraway makes an incisive demand for feminism to insist on a better account of the world. What would a better account of the world entail today (thirty years on) in light of planetary-scaled complexity, and how could this account become operationalised? Situatedness offers us the important contextualization of knowledge-claims based on particular socio-geographic and normative standpoints to which ‘knowing’ is bound. In doing so, situatedness also challenges the contours of epistemology as such, that have typically favored propositional knowledge (knowing that), over knowing how (a framing that ultimately limits what actually counts as an account of reality). With this epistemological legacy as a springboard, the talk will extrapolate upon situatedness with the aim of contending with the reality of extra-local objects that are both distributed in time and space, and objects that require distributed modes of cognition (pluri-situatedness) to (imperfectly) grasp them. Because these objects defy total, or certain knowability, they additionally require robust engagement with the unknown, for which the abductive logics of hypothetical thinking must also factor in our demands for a better account of the world, especially when these objects are not empirically within reach. These claims rest on the promise of human agency for revisioning (the motor of fallibility), a powerful force that reflects back to us, effectively resituating us as a conceptual effect, since all situations are potentially mobile.