RE: [xmca] Copernicus, Darwin and Bohr

From: Peter Smagorinsky <smago who-is-at>
Date: Mon Jun 25 2007 - 04:09:56 PDT

I have also been interested in the role of emotions and how they're
mediated, primarily through schoolwork (yes, it can happen). I'll attach two
papers, one looking at writing and one at art, that provides evidence for
this phenomenon.

Also, Wolf-Michael Roth has an article in the newest MCA on this
topic--worth a read if you're interested in these things. Peter

Peter Smagorinsky
The University of Georgia
Department of Language and Literacy Education
125 Aderhold Hall
Athens, GA 30602-7123 /fax:706-542-4509/phone:706-542-4507/

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Jay Lemke
Sent: Sunday, June 24, 2007 8:27 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Copernicus, Darwin and Bohr

I think that a little research will show that the post below seriously
mischaracterizes computer and video games. That is a disservice.

As to the argument that mediational means do not play a role in emotional
development, that seems to me contrary not only to LSV's position, but to
the experience of many people with literature, film, and today with other
media that are still developing (cf. early films and what conservative
literary critics had to say about the future of the medium with the art that
emerged alongside and sometimes within less serious filmmaking).


At 09:03 PM 6/23/2007, you wrote:
>Dear Erik and Mike:
> Erik makes the main point I wanted to make far better than my own
> maunderings did. It was precisely that the grandiose epistemological
> and philosophical and even political meanings that we often attach to
> particular scientific breakthroughs tend to reflect our own
> ontological predispositions and philosophical predilections rather
> than any thorough assimilation of the technological breakthrough at
> hand.
> The Russian affinity for Darwinism reflects, as Erik says, the
> atmosphere of anticipation in late 19th Century Russia rather than any
> deep understanding of the precise mechanism that Darwin was proposing.
> But of course the same could be said of the Western distaste for
> Darwin.
> In fact, we can even say the same for Darwin's own phrase "natural
> selection". Janet pointed out that this particular expression was
> anthropomorphic, and it was for that reason that Darwin, via Wallace,
> began to use the phrase "survival of the fittest" (and of course this
> has been found to be tautological by people who do not differentiate
> between species, organisms, phenotypes and genotypes). Darwin's own
> understanding of his theory is deeply colored by Malthus and political
> economy, and this was one of the reasons why it could be so easily
> picked up by Spencer (who actually coined the phrase "survival of the
> fittest").
> I don't mean to change the subject, but I think that another
> weakness of the "toolforthoughts" approach is that it at least
> potentially constricts LSV's concept of mediation to intellectual
> concepts. Mediation was also part of LSV's vision of emotional
> development, as Gunilla Lindqvist's article (2000) makes very clear.
> "Tools" are not artworks. LSV (2004, based on a previous discussion
> in Ribot) divides creativity into four basic types:
> a) combinatorial (the creation of unicorns, manticores, dragons,
> imaginary friends, huts on chicken legs). Here the child is simply
> juxtaposing actual aspects of experience in new ways.
> b) reconstructive (the way children conceptualize experiences they
> have NEVER had, such as the children in Thinking and Speech Chapter
> Five who imagined that serf-owners lived in ten story houses with
> electricity). Here there is a "reality check" function that makes the
> child's creativity socially shareable with adults.
> c) emotional (the way children use creativity to control their
> emotions and even create new ones, such as the child who uses Harry
> Potter or Tom Sawyer to imagine a world without parents and make it
> d) innovative (the way children use creativity to bring into being
> the kind of objects that Popper associates with "World Three", music,
> drawing, drama, etc.
> I see perfectly well how "tools" can mediate the kind of creativity
> we see in a), b), and even d). But it's much less clear to me how
> tools (as opposed to symbols) mediate the kind of creativity we see in
> c). In fact, I would argue that in many ways the kinds of instant
> gratification we see developing in computer based role-play games (and
> Hollywood movies such as "Pirates of the
> Carribean") are INIMICAL to the development of higher emotions such as
> justice out of rage, caution out of fear, empathy out of pain.
> There is always an interaction between a particular tool and its
> content, and I do not think it is accidental that books evolved into
> novels, while web-based games are evolving into long but only very
> narrowly interactive shopping lists of monsters to kill, cars to
> hijack, prisoners to torture, women to abuse.
> So I'm inclined to impute the starry-eyed anticipation of people who
> believe that web-based games will replace literacy altogether to the
> kind of wildly innaccurate (because asocial) foresight which, twenty
> or thirty years ago, imagined a world twenty or thirty years hence
> where people commute using individual rocket belts.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
>TV dinner still cooling?
>Check out "Tonight's Picks" on Yahoo! TV.
>xmca mailing list

Jay Lemke
University of Michigan
School of Education
610 East University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Tel. 734-763-9276
Website. <>
xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

Received on Mon Jun 25 04:12 PDT 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Jul 01 2007 - 00:30:04 PDT