Dans cette section du chapitre, Jean Lave revient sur l’aspect culturel de “l’action rationnelle, soulève des objections à propos des modèles normatifs en matière de cognition, citant de nombreux auteurs en appui de ses thèses, et conclut : “qu’une psychologie tirée qu’une idéologie de la rationalité ne peut pas rendre compte adéquatement de la pratique.”
La résolution de problème possède des spécificités culturelles
The cultural specificity of « rational problem solving » It follows from the description of math in everyday practice, from its situational specificity and accuracy, that theoretically charged, unexamined, normative models of thinking lose their descriptive and predictive power when research is moved to everyday settings and relaxes its grip on the structuring of activity.
Jean Lave soulève deux objections aux modèles normatifs appliqués par les spécialistes de la cognition en relation avec à l’interprétation des discontinuités de connaissance et de procédure entre des situations expérimentales et des situations de la vie courante
1. Les normes incarnées dans ces modèles sont culturellement et historiquement spécifiques
2. La création de modèles normatifs est (…) un acte culturel
“I made two general objections to the normative models ubiquitously applied by cognitive scientists to the interpretation of discontinuities of knowledge and
procedure between experimental and everyday situations. “
First, the norms embodied in these models are culturally and historically specific ones.
Secondly, the fashioning of normative models of thinking from particular, « scientific, » culturally valued. named bodies of knowledge isa cultural act.
Pour Jean Lave, les pratiques communes à la recherche cognitive et à l’école traitent l’arithmétique, la logique et les calculs monétaires comme des exemples de la «pensée rationnelle». Jean Lave cite de nombreux auteurs (Simon, Shalins, Warren (qui cite Marx), Adorno, Jay, ) à l’appui de son point de vue.
Et, elle considère que si la rationalité est une conception culturelle clé du sens et de de la valeur, cela remet en cause l’idée que la rationalité représente un mode de pensée humaine.
Pour enfin déclarer que le concept de rationalité n’a pas de pouvoir scientifique
« Practices common to both cognitive research and schooling treat arithmetic, logic, and monetary calculations as exemplars of « rational thought. » Arithmetic, measurement devices, and the management of money are taught and used as expressions of rational means/ends relations. Math practice is described as general mental exercise. Math in conventional pedagogical guises is presented in the form of capsule puzzles – « problems » – with explicit, prefabricated goals, employing
only « factual » information; procedures are construed to be value-free, technical means. Such propositions are based on a concept of problem solving as a series of objective, rational means to pre-specified ends (e.g. Simon 1980). »
« Social theorists draw attention to connections among means-ends relations, mathematics, the economic locus of the concept of rationality and problem solving as higher cognitive function. Sahlins speaks of rationality as a system of meaning, a product of historical circumstances which have made the economic institutions of Western culture the locus of generation of its symbolic systems. »
« Logic, as Marx has it, is the money of the mind, and no matter how dialectical, it always expresses a reified and alienated mediation of man and reality » (Warren 1984: 50).
« Adorno argued that there is a special relationship between the commoditization of exchange and labor in capitalist society and the focus on means/ends relations in the social sciences: The over-valuation of method is truly a symptom of the consciousness of our time. Sociologically speaking, it is closely related to the general tendency to substitute means for ends. In the last instance, this tendency is related to the nature of the commodity: to the fact that everything is seen as functional, as a being-for-another and no longer as something which exists in itself. (Adorno 1977: 131)
The reification of logic … « refers back to the commodity form whose identity exists in the ‘equivalence’ of exchange value. » (quoted in Jay 1973: 69)
If rationality is a key cultural conception of meaning and value, it calls into question the idea that rationality represents a mode of human thought, an unchallengeable canon of mental processing whose application is sufficient to establish the superiority of its product. More important, if these scholars are correct about its historical and culturally tautological implications, we must finally realize that the concept of rationality has no general scientific power (being ideological) to account for more and less powerful forms of cognition, the efficacy of schooling, or anything else.
The rationalist problematic of cognitive research is more than a general program. It transforms beliefs about rational thinking into a literal, detailed, operationalization of those beliefs. It has characteristic forms that should be familiar from earlier discussions; the argument that culture and knowledge are equivalent, and may be treated as if they consist of discrete facts; problem solving as one of a very small number of exemplars of « higher cognitive functions » – those most powerful and valued attributes of human thinking; rational problem solving, in the form of means/ends relations translated into condition/action pairs, i.e. production systems, as a universal form in which any thought can beexpressed.Algorithmic problem solving is assumed to be the ideal model for the cognitive procedures employed to solve questions of fact in the service of goals exogenous to the process under study.
This view isolates action as technique, and knowledge as « fact » from ends as matters of value, desire, feeling, and judgment. Indeed, the concept of « goals » is merely the obverse of « problem solving procedures. » Both result from the single stroke that divides means from ends, fact from value. »
« The discussion of money management provided demonstrations that arithmetic in practice is never merely that, but is the product and reflection of multiple relations – of value and belief, of people with each other, and of the conditions for producing and reproducing activity over time. Together they structure and are structured in activity, and evidence has been provided for the ideologically motivated uses of math to justify claims for the rationality of activity. »
et un expert n’est pas non plus une encyclopédie La connaissance est au contraire le processus de savoir, un engagement actif de la conscience dans un relation réciproque avec le monde.
« Thus, summed up very briefly: episodes in which a shopper buys apples or looks for enchiladas support the claim that knowledge is not primarily a factual commodity or compendium of facts, nor is an expert knower an encyclopedia. Instead knowledge takes on the character of a process of knowing. It is:
the active engagement of consciousness in a reciprocal relation with the world and thus is constantly caught up in a simultaneous knowing and changing of the world. (Warren, 1984) »
“Secondly, I have argued at length that the conception of situation as separate from, and only arbitrarily related to, activity might better be transformed into a concept of dialectically constituted, situated activity. »
« Finally, if relations among activity, setting and processes of dilemma-resolution are dialectically constituted, then it is not possible to separate the means of problem-solving activity from its ends. »
De plus, si les buts ne sont pas extérieurs (exogènes) à la constitution des problèmes, alors un problème n’est plus une fin en soi, mais un dilemme à résoudre (…) et les processus pour résoudre les dilemmes perdent leur caractère universel, normatif et décontextualisé.
“Further, if goals are not exogenous to the constitution of problems, then a problem is not structured as an end in itself or by a goal set elsewhere and presented to problem solvers by problem givers. A problem is a dilemma with which the problem solver is emotionally engaged; conflict is the source of dilemmas. Processes for resolving dilemmas are correspondingly deprived of their assumed universalistic, normative, decontextualized nature.”
La plupart des dilemmes qui impliquent des relations quantitatives sont des problèmes arithmétiques mal formés.
“most dilemmas which involve relations among quantities are not wellformed arithmetic problems. In short, both theoretical critique and empirical evidence recommend that we recognize the cultural character and historical continuity of the contemporary study of cognition, and act accordingly to broaden the search for alternative conceptualizations that might encompass a richer, less stylized, investigation of the world as IS. »
« Je n’en conclus pas que les gens ne satisfont pas à une norme de conduite rationnelle, mais plutôt qu’une psychologie tirée qu’une idéologie de la rationalité ne peut pas rendre compte adéquatement de la pratique.
Les gens sont beaucoup plus souvent engagés dans des activités continues qu’ils ne sont paralysés dans l’action suspendue. »
“I do not conclude from this that people fail to meet some rational standard of conduct, but rather, that a psychology drawn from
an ideology of rationality cannot adequately account for practice.
There is still meaning in the practical distinction between rational and irrational action; their cultural politics have been touched not one whit by the current analysis. It makes as good sense as ever to insist that one’s own argument is rational while the other person’s is not. But people are also concerned with « making sense. » And it seems clear that relations among the structuring resources of person, activity and setting, transforming means/ends relations seamlessly through gap-closing processes, lead to action that meets the expectations of self and others efficaciously, most of the time.
The ordinary state of persons-acting provides further evidence for the sustained scope of ordered activity in everyday life. People are engaged in ongoing activity far more often than they are paralyzed into suspended action. »