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Re: [xmca] FW: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing - First Cut in Colour

Aha, so this is the message that Paula refers to by focusing on FUNCTION.
This thread is all tangled up by my gmail for some reason.
This part of the discussion, along with my doubts about how often/when
adults use true concepts adds to my feeling that ferreting out
the wolf from the sheep is likely to be a daunting task.

I am also starting to worry differently about the use of the term,
abstraction.  Where does the emptiness of abstractions and the
subsequent necessity to "rise to the concrete" come into this discussion?
My guess is that David is addressing the question in the
sequence from this to the apple. But when are apples abstract? When i
checked for apples at the farmer's market this afternoon, what level of
thinking was i using?

On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 6:58 AM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:

> I think it was actually Basil Bernstein who remarked that the question of
> how outside gets inside is the essential question of sociology, and of
> course it's an equally essential question of psychology, so long as we
> understand that "outside" and "inside" are really rather like eric's
> complexive uses of "up" and "down".
> In eric's list, we notice that "up" is often used simply as something that
> in other languages is called a resultative particle. For example, in
> Chinese, when an action is finished, we add the particle "le" to indicate
> completion. In Korean, the verb ending "borida" means something like
> "completely finished".
> I think that is the sense in which we have to use "internalization" or
> "interiorization". It is the endpoint of a process which has its roots not
> only in the perceptual environment but even far beyond in the cultural
> historical endowment of the child (and in fact it is THIS, and not
> perception, which gives it the psychological nature which makes it
> internalizeable).
> Paula says that the pseudoconcept is STRUCTURALLY equivalent to the
> concept. I think that if we look at the pseudoconcept in action we might
> think that is true. An obvious example is the English article system, or
> rather the progression from the indicative-demonstrative system through the
> article system to the plural we use to denote an abstract concept:
> "this apple"
> "that apple"
> "the apple"
> These are mostly indicative-nominative in function.
> "An apple",
> "A pair of apples",
> "some apples",
> These are mostly complexive in function. They are examples of concepts but
> they can also be interpreted in concrete terms as groups of actual objects.
> "Apples"
> "the apple as a fruit"
> These are mostly signifying in function because they refer to idealized
> objects.
> The problem from me is the word "apples". This is can be interpreted as a
> set of actual apples, but it can also, because of the way the English plural
> system works, refer to an abstract concept, taken outside of the hierarchy
> of fruits and vegetables which would give it scientific reference.
> This seems to me pseudoconceptual. But precisely because it is
> pseudoconceptual it does not have the structure of the concept. The
> structure of the concept is not simply the set of what Jay calls "thematic
> relations" (e.g. classification, definition, exemplification) which situate
> it in a hierarchy. The structure of a concept also involves the internal
> differentiation of the concept according to those thematic relations.
> Wenger (1998) notes that "reification" of terms like "play" or even
> "education" is a powerful tool (because it allows us to classify, define,
> exemplify processes as if they were things) but it is also a "double edge
> sword" (sic) because it strips these things of their subjects and objects,
> and deprives of crucial information (who is doing what to whom and why?)
> But of course in the real world we cannot have play without someone
> playing, or education without someone being educated, and no process ever
> takes place without any reason. So what really happens in concept formation
> is that these things become absorbed into the word meaning in hidden,
> abstract form. And that is why I think it is not quite correct for Paula to
> say that concepts and pseudoconcepts are STRUCTURALLY equivalent.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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