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Submissions/Shared cognition, knowledge and content production: the embodied noosphere logs in

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2015 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this July.

Submission no.
Title of the submission
Shared cognition, knowledge and content production: the embodied noosphere logs in
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Presentation and discussion
Author of the submission
Andrew Russell Green
E-mail address
AGreen (WMF)
Country of origin
Canada (though until recenlty, Mexico)
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia Foundation
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
Behind Wikipedia and other WMF projects stand massive, diverse social movements. In this presentation, I'll describe these movements and their products in terms of a theoretical framework rooted in systems theory, cognitive science and cognitive anthropology.
I call this theoretical framework the embodied noosphere. It postulates a realm of distributed cognition that emerges from individual cognition, which it both enables and depends on. I've used the existing term, noosphere, for it, because the understanding I propose is similar to other concepts that term has been used for. Embodied refers to a view of individual thought that emphasizes its roots in physical, biological and developmental contexts. The embodied noosphere is the sphere of collective, distributed thought that emerges from individuals' embodied thoughts and actions. Even though we often refer to it indirectly in our day-to-day lives, it is not usually named as such. Naming it and describing its properties and interactions with other aspects of our lives can shed new light on concepts like knowledge, collective action and community.
I worked on an initial view of the embodied noosphere in a Ph.D. dissertation.[1] It is essentially a "tweaking" of other theoretical proposals on distributed cognition and culture. With regard to embodied cognition, I draw a lot on the work of Mark Johnson, George Lakoff and Ronald Langacker.
In this framework, the Wikimedia movements can be seen as the cutting edge in the development of collective thought and action. That does not mean that Wikipedia is a "hivemind". Instead, it means that shared ideas and linguistic forms that communicate them are the core materials that the movements work with. The Wikipedias are not valuable as sequences of characters or words per se, but as the thoughts that the words communicate. Knowledge may be seen as an entity of the noosphere, as representations in a complex system, and as neither wholly objective nor subjective.
The forgoing are possible implications of the embodied noosphere framework for the Wikimedia movement. In addition to describing the framework, this presentation will review these and other implications the framework has.
WikiCulture & Community
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
I'll need to project slides in PDF format, please.
Special requests

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  1. Adamw (talk) 00:54, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Sage (Wiki Ed) (talk) 07:05, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 12:44, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Add your username here.

  1. Green, A. Derrumbando la barrera cualitativa-cuantitativa. Perspectivas sobre el pensamiento, las expresiones formales, el lenguajey la ciencia social. Unpublished dissertation, submitted for a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, in Mexico City. Currently under review.