Neth, H. & Müller, T. (2008)

Neth, H., & Müller, T. (2008). Thinking by doing and doing by thinking: a taxonomy of actions. In V. Sloutsky, B. Love & K. McRae (Eds.), 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 993-998). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Thinking by doing and doing by thinking: a taxonomy of actions

Taking a lead from existing typologies of actions in the philo- sophical and cognitive science literatures, we present a novel taxonomy of actions. To promote a notion of epistemic agency we distinguish theoretical (mental state-directed) from practi- cal (world-directed) actions. Our basic structural unit is that of a teleological frame, which spans one specific goal of an agent. Relative to a given teleological frame, actions can be classi- fied as focal (directed towards the end) or ancillary (directed towards a means). The framework is applied to further illumi- nate previous attempts to distinguish between pragmatic and epistemic actions (Kirsh & Maglio, 1994). Physical actions that substitute or support mental processes are re-classified as practical ancillary actions that are strategically contingent alternatives to theoretical actions.

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