Thinking as Communicating
• Divided into two independent parts: those interested mainly in theorising about human thinking may satisfy themselves with Part I, where references to mathematics are scarce; those who reach for this book because of their interest in mathematical thinking can head directly toward Part II
• The glossary of the basic commognitive terms appended at the end of the book, and the summarising ('nutshell') section at the end of every chapter support various, non-linear ('random access') forms of reading
• A combination of theoretical analyses and empirical studies; the reader is provided with the opportunity to learn and practise the distinctive commognitive methods of discourse analysis using many data samples
This book is an attempt to change our thinking about thinking. Anna Sfard undertakes this task convinced that many long-standing, seemingly irresolvable quandaries regarding human development originate in ambiguities of the existing discourses on thinking. Standing on the shoulders of Vygotsky and Wittgenstein, the author defines thinking as a form of communication. The disappearance of the time-honoured thinking-communicating dichotomy is epitomised by Sfard's term, commognition, which combines communication with cognition. The commognitive tenet implies that verbal communication with ist distinctive property of recursive self-reference may be the primary source of humans' unique ability to accumulate the complexity of their action from one generation to another. The explanatory power of the commognitive framework and the manner in which it contributes to our understanding of human development is illustrated through commognitive analysis of mathematical discourse accompanied by vignettes from mathematics classrooms.