Re: [xmca] mythic/theoretic/virtual cultures?

From: <laires who-is-at>
Date: Mon Jun 18 2007 - 16:26:03 PDT


I am just arriving this forum and I am very amazed with the dynamics of
the discussion. That’s why I need some days to appropriate all voices.
I read “toolforthoughts” and I think it may be a stimulating contribution
to an ontological change about interactive tools and thoughts on action
and learning and even in sociocultural perspectives.
Intrinsic interactivity is a fundamental characteristic of action observed
when decentralized tools are used. This intrinsic interactivity demands
the succession of actions between humans and tools. So I understand the
importance of new ideas to study this new culture. However I would not
propose the same meaning to interactivity and symmetry because they are
two different concepts. If symmetry is related to the role and the power
in communication, it doesn’t seem to me to be so clear that there is
symmetry in this intrinsic interactivity. And the name “toolforthoughts”
does recognise the symmetry in this relation (tool-for-thought)?;
therefore, should it be “toolforthoughtfortool”?

After the reading of this text, I felt very unquiet because some
sociocultural deas are under “reanalysis”; one of my problems now is to
see clearly the epistemological implications of this new perspective to
study distance (online) learning.

I look forward to hearing from you

Luisa Aires
(Universidade Aberta)

> Ana et al--
> The symmetry (ANT) view is discussed by Reijo in an earlier MCA, which is
> why I sent it around, and it is also discussed (with somewhat
> different conclusions) by Viktor and Bonnie in Acting with Technology.
> There
> is also the discussion around Latour's article on interobjectivity
> in MCA where the issues are discussed.
> Part of what makes this particular piece so complex for us is that it
> leads
> backwards, outwards, and forwards from several partially overlapping
> prior discussions which no one of us have fully incorporated into our
> thinkings, all involving key thinkers of importance to us..
> mike
> On 6/17/07, Ana Marjanovic-Shane <> wrote:
>> I have a similar quantity of questions and half baked thoughts.
>> For instance, What do we gain and what do we lose when we erase the
>> asymmetry between thoughts and tools. On one hand, I do agree with the
>> inseparable connection between the two phenomena and I still see them as
>> two
>> phenomena -- or two different parts of the system. But to me it seems
>> that
>> creating a total symmetry is the same as saying that they have the same
>> functions within the system. And that in turn annihilates the idea of
>> mediation. Although David and Katherine claim that "all action arises
>> from a
>> process of mutual mediation" (p. 289 -second paragraph from the bottom),
>> it
>> seems to me that meaning is constructed because there are different
>> types of
>> mediation within this system which are asymmetrical and which allow for
>> the
>> internal dynamic, polyphony and creative restructuring. In this sense, I
>> think that with denying the "analytic priority to humans" they are also
>> throwing the baby with the bath water. In other words, I can see
>> multiple
>> and mutual mediation in the system, but I also see mutually asymmetrical
>> kinds of mediation. It is not only asymmetrical between people and
>> tools/symbols, but it is also asymmetrical between people - which
>> something
>> like AC/DC - constantly changing directions of asymmetry.
>> Another puzzle that I see as built into this theoretical model is the
>> question of weather it is possible to "internalize" insights and
>> knowledge
>> which is constructed through the distributed mind -- in other words - is
>> knowledge still possible? This view comes close to erasing the
>> distinction
>> between ontology and epistemology -- and if not what is the difference
>> between the two in the light of this theory?
>> Ana
>> Mike Cole wrote:
>> David and Katherine's toolforthought has stimulated so many different
>> thoughts in so many different directions that I am uncertain where to
>> begin
>> in seeking to discuss it. Tony has urged that we read it in light of
>> ideas
>> in acting with technology, and it have spent a few hours with that book.
>> I was pushed back to earlier discussions of CHAT and Actor Network
>> Theory
>> (ANT) and with help from you, have been able to recover Reijo's
>> discussion of that aspect of the discussion (there is a discussion of
>> these
>> relations in Acting with Technology).
>> Of the many potential starting places, the one at the top of the jumble
>> in
>> my head at this moment is the relationship between the idea of
>> toolforthought,
>> what is referred to in the abstract as new media (which I believe gets
>> refined later to new computational media enabling complex simulations),
>> and
>> the
>> "forms" of culture indexed by the adjectives mythic/theoretic/virtual
>> culture..
>> I have two confusions here.
>> First, to what extent is it helpful to characterize entire cultural
>> systems
>> by the dominant modes of tool mediation? Were the people who constructed
>> and
>> used
>> Stonehenge restricted to mythic thinking/narrative? Does Seymor Papert
>> pondering the terrible accident that befell him in Hanoi think about it
>> virtually? Theoretically?
>> Do old forms disappear when when forms emerge?
>> Second, and related, to what extent is the idea of toolforthought
>> dependent
>> upon such new media? For most of the article, it seems to me that the
>> idea
>> applies no less
>> to people sitting on the lip of the caves of Lascaux, observing the
>> moon,
>> and inscribing its phases on a piece of bone than to my grandson playing
>> world of warcraft. At
>> other times it appeared (as in the statement in the abstract) that it
>> was
>> the new forms of computational media that give rise to a new culture and
>> a
>> new mode of thought
>> where toolforthought applies.
>> Plenty more questions.
>> What do you think?
>> (The now-absent-from-this-discussion-Eugene hereby invoked tentatively
>> as
>> a
>> toolforthought)
>> mike
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
>> --
>> **
>> ------------------------------
>> *Ana Marjanovic-Shane, Ph.D.* *151 W. Tulpehocken St.* *Philadelphia**,
>> PA
>> 19144*** *(h) 215-843-2909* ** *
>> *
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