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Re: [xmca] In Defense of Imprecision
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] In Defense of Imprecision
- From: Mike Cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2009 10:40:00 -0800
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So it seems in David/Ketherine's example, Carol.
But it could work in the opposite direction couldn't it?
Note that all of David's items are cognitive and the title of Nelson's book
is about cognitive development. I think this perfectly normal and
restriction/framing is probably relevant to the issue of how we narrow
interpretations of words/theories/assertions to create at least the illusion
On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 11:12 PM, Carol Macdonald <firstname.lastname@example.org>wrote:
> From: Carol
> In addition to your range of skills/concepts the child has (and they seem
> to be valid) is there also another factor, and that is the need for
> solidarity and "sameness". Obviously we infer that because the child
> but that's what you did in your analysis.
> (This of course only lasts for some time, until the child wishes that she
> could be like *others *who are stronger, prettier, etc.) I think we call
> that teenagehood :-}
> 2009/2/16 David Kellogg <email@example.com>
> > Consider this data from a maternal diary study (Callanan and Oakes 1992:
> > 221-222) cited in Nelson, Language in Cognitive Development, p. 255:
> > Child: Why does Daddy, James (big brother) and me have blue eyes and you
> > have green eyes?
> > (Parent tells child that she got her eyes from Daddy. Child says
> > and leaves the room. Child re-emerges about five minutes later to
> > the conversation.)
> > Child: I like Pee Wee Herman and I have blue yes. Daddy likes Pee Wee
> > Herman and he has blue eyes. James likes Pee Wee Herman and he has blue
> > eyes. If you liked Pee Wee Herman you could get blue eyes too.
> > (Parent suggests that it might take more than liking Pee Wee Herman.
> > Comments in the diary: "I realized that she didn't understand me so I
> > explained that God gave me this color and they couldn't be changed.")
> > Child: Could you try to like Pee Wee Herman so we could see if your eyes
> > turn blue?
> > (Parent says "I said I would think about it but if my eyes stayed green
> > was OK.")
> > Now, Nelson's rather severe comment is that "(a)lthough this example
> > indicates creative causal thinking, it violates in the most extreme way
> > boundary between basic biological and symbolic cultural domains, and does
> > not suggest the possession of systematically organized, causally related
> > knowledge in either domain."
> > Of course it's really impossible to evaluate whether the example suggests
> > that or not, because it's hard to say how serious the child is. But
> > what it really DOES suggest, whether the child is serious or not.
> > The child is capable of
> > a) reflection,
> > b) induction,
> > c) generalization,
> > d) a critical attitude towards magical explanations (e.g. God) and
> > e) a scientific procedure for testing hypotheses.
> > All of those things are really considerably MORE important to the
> > of scientific concepts than the supposed boundary between basic
> > and symbolic cultural domains, which are easily violated in much more
> > extreme ways (e.g. tooth fillings, colored contact lenses, cosmetic
> > surgery). In fact, taken together, these things constitute the very
> > of organized, causally related knowledge in both domains.
> > Actually, I think that the imprecision of word-meaning is related. The
> > reason why word meaning is THE unit of analysis that Vygotsky posits for
> > human consciousness is precisely that it is imprecise; it must be and it
> > accompanied with negotiation procedures for reflection, induction,
> > generalization, critical appropriation, hypothesis formation and
> > testing, all of which happen in and through normal conversation. In Jay's
> > terminology, word meaning is meta-stable rather than stable.
> > What is true for word meaning is even more true of grammar. Chinese,
> > is one of the "few" languages (according to Nelson) to lack a tense
> > happens to be historically the most developed and differentiated one as
> > (because the early invention of a non-phonologically based writing system
> > held it together when other languages simply flew apart).
> > After all, development might NOT mean purity; it might mean variety. So
> > tense, like reported speech, is a very imprecise instrument that easily
> > atrophies and withers away. You can easily see examples of this happening
> > logogenetically whenever somebody tries to tell a long story with lots of
> > tense changes and embedded dialogue, even in a young, still developing
> > language like English. But that's okay; imprecision is really just an
> > imprecise term for meta-stability.
> > David Kellogg
> > Seoul National University of Education
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