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date: 25 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The study of material culture is changing the way we perceive and study the past, as well as how we understand the process of human becoming. This chapter proposes that a focus on the phenomenon of material engagement provides a productive means to situate and integrate evolutionary, historical, and developmental processes. The material engagement approach brings with it a relational conceptualization of human cognition as profoundly embodied, enacted, extended, and distributed. This conceptualisation opens the way to, on the one hand, reanimate the importance of history and development in the study of human cognitive evolution, and on the other hand, allow a new approach to historical analysis, one in which minds and things play a more central role. Specifically, we explore some of the implications of the view that humans and things coconstitute each other for understanding the processes by which human cognitive abilities develop and change in different cultural and historical contexts.

Keywords: material engagement, mind, things, plasticity, evolution, time, human becoming, material agency

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