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CHIAS IV: Social Agency and Interactivity

 Keynote Speakers: Bruce Edmonds and John Stewart


Below you can read the thoughts made prior to the symposia.



Social agency is a concept used in a variety of disciplines including cognitive science, social simulation, sociology, biosemiotics and linguistics. This interdisciplinary symposium brings together contributions and insights from each of these fields with the purpose of understanding agency in the context of human interactivity.


Cognition and social relations can be traced to human interactivity, which is defined as “sense-saturated coordination that contributes to human action.” Interactivity invites us to look at cognition as a socially rooted phenomenon t...hat does not just involve individual agents but rather social collectives, cognitive and social affordances, and the whole ecosystem. 


Despite the social nature of interactivity, we cannot take sociality for granted. Rather, we must investigate how social relations emerge through interactivity. Social agency is conceived of as a nexus that links together cognition, social norms, embodiment and biological factors.



The symposium brings together a range of multi-disciplinary insights and addresses the following fundamental questions:


- In terms of social agency, how can we account for the interplay of biological, cognitive and social norms?

- How does social agency affect cognition in organisations?

- What role does social agency play in relation to interactivity and language?

- How do communities arise and function in the dynamical intersection of agency, cognition and biology?



The symposium features two invited speakers, both major scholars in their respective fields: 


- Bruce Edmonds (Professor and Director of Centre for Policy Modelling at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School) is a leading scholar in Social Simulation and Agent-Based-Modelling. Bruce has published extensively on these as well as other topics including evolutionary processes, social organizing, bounded rationality, and artificial intelligence. 

- John Stewart (Scientific Consultant at Université de Technologie de Compiègne), has been writing on a range of topics including cognitive science, the evolution of the immune system, social ontology, and the philosophy of technology. John is the co-editor of Enaction: Toward a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science (MIT Press, 2010)

Last Updated 24.03.2017