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New paper: Social phenomena as a challenge to the scaling-up problem

In a new paper, KLI fellow Enrico Petracca challenges the traditional understanding of the "scaling-up" problem in the philosophy of cognitive science. Petracca questions the problem’s main assumption, that is, that cognitive phenomena can be categorized based on their inherent complexity or representation-hunger. The paper's focus is on social phenomena, a realm long debated for its level of representation-hunger.

Petracca explores dual-process models of cognition in social psychology which suggest a need to distinguish between task complexity and cognitive requirements. Additionally, the encounter of radical enactivism with social theory provides a non-representational explanation for institutional phenomena.

The paper argues that representation-hunger is an unreliable guide for understanding the social domain and suggests that one of the following must hold: either the scaling-up problem is untenable in its traditional (hierarchical) understanding or radical enactivism has already scaled up to social phenomena, understood as the pinnacle of representation-hunger.

Publication: Petracca, E. Social phenomena as a challenge to the scaling-up problem. Phenom Cogn Sci (2023).