The Dynamics of Search Experience: A Search for What Matters

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Conference Proceeding

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The metaphysical assumptions of cognitive science are explored with the goal to develop a problem-centered science relevant to the design and engineering of effective products and technologies. Radical Empiricism is suggested as an ontological foundation for pursuing this goal. This ontology poses a single reality where mind and matter come together to shape experience. Peirce’s triadic semiotic system is suggested as a framework for parsing this reality in ways that reveal important aspects of the dynamics of communication and control. Rasmussen’s three analytic frames of the 1) Abstraction Hierarchy, 2) the Decision Ladder, and 3) Ecological Interface Design are suggested as important tools for achieving insight into the dynamics of this triadic semiotic system. These ideas are offered as a challenge to both scientists and designers to reassess the basic assumptions that guide their work. The hope is that by facing these challenges we can take the first tentative steps toward a coherent science of what matters.


Presented at the European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics, Helsinki, Finland, September 30-October 2, 2009.