Archives For Ronald N. Giere

Author Information: Matthew J. Brown, University of Texas at Dallas,

Brown, Matthew J. “A Critical Appreciation of Ronald N. Giere’s ‘Distributed Cognition without Distributed Knowing’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 6 (2015): 45-51.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink:

Please refer to:

Author’s Note:

    This material is partially based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1338735. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Image credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, via flickr

Ron Giere’s “Distributed Cognition without Distributed Knowing” (Giere 2007) is a relatively short but nonetheless significant paper. Giere has, since 2002, been defending the use of distributed cognition (dcog) theory as the best theoretical framework for the cognitive science of science (Giere 2002a; 2002b; 2002c; 2004; 2006a; 2006b; 2009; 2012; Giere and Moffatt 2003). In his work, he has mainly defended the dcog approach theoretically and applied it as a framework for reinterpreting existing case studies (e.g., by Knorr-Cetina and Latour). Giere’s work is a complement to the empirical work by Nancy Nersessian and her collaborators, who apply dcog in their mixed-methods empirical laboratory studies (N. J. Nersessian, Kurz-Milcke, et al. 2003; N. J. Nersessian, Newstetter, et al. 2003; Nersessian 2005; Osbeck et al. 2011).  Continue Reading…