Publication 4399

Clancey W. J. (2017) The Reflective Science of Ethnography and Its Role in Pragmatic Design. Constructivist Foundations 13(1): 73–76. Fulltext at
Open peer commentary on the article “Varela’s Radical Proposal: How to Embody and Open Up Cognitive Science” by Kristian Moltke Martiny. Upshot: Analyses of the epistemological premises of modern ethnography suggest that “opening up” cognitive science is problematic, caught between a theoretically impossible “translation” of another world view or culture and reverting to an autobiography. Rather, an ethnography might be viewed as a “poetic” expression of interpersonal experiences, whose writing is a new experience contributing to ongoing conversations with ethical value. In particular, one can adopt an instrumental perspective in which an ethnography is a tool for engineering design; thus the “opening” is manifest as applied science within a design collaboration.


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