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Re: zuhanden/vorhanden Re: [xmca] When does an action begin and end?

To make another connection: Maybe we could correlate this with the difference, in Dewey's terms, between being engaged instrumentally with something (the tool) in our response to a problematic situation, versus our engagement with that same thing (tool) when IT BECOMES the problematic situation.

Also, it strikes me that there may be a problem with the terminology.
"zuhanden" is translated as "ready-to-hand"
"vorhanden" is translated as "present-at-hand"
I don't think the problem is in the translation, but in the original terminology. Not wanting to presume to correct H on his own thinking, I wonder if it would not be more apt to counterpose "Zuhandenheit" with something that would translate more as "present-to-mind" or "present-to-attention" or "present-to-consciousness" (while of course taking care to avoid using "mind" in a Cartesian sense).

What do you think?

On Tue, 18 Aug 2009, Tony Whitson wrote:

"Broken tools" is not the central idea, it's just the lead example.

Heidegger would say we can use tools zuhanden-ly without (in the context of this thread) being "conscious" of them in the same way as when we think about them as vorhanden -- like a scientist engaged not in using it, but in theorizing about it. When a tool stops working, then we shift attitude from using it in its Zuhandenheit to attending to it consciously in its Vorhandenheit. The broken tool is just the classic example in H, but I think the concepts might apply also to the Zuhandenheit of the printed words when reading for the meaning, versus the Vorhandenheit of the printed text when it, for whatever reason, becomes the focus of conscious attention.

I don't want to say more about this since others on this list are so much more knowledgeable than I am about Heidegger.

I don't know much about reading instruction, but I do know absolutely how it was in my Chinese classes. It was in the third year class that we could read texts in Chinese characters aloud at a reasonable pace. When others were reading aloud, I could follow the text with understanding. When I was the one reading aloud, I was one of the more proficient lectors in the class; but when I reached the end of my reading I could say nothing about what I had just read.

On Tue, 18 Aug 2009, Mike Cole wrote:

Sorry this came to me via gmail in two disparate threads.
So Andy IS talking about operations-actions.
Tony asks about broken tools, which, in a way, typos are.

To put a tiny bit more flesh on my questions about consciousness. A standard
procedure in my college classes when issues of
reading instruction come up is to ask a student to read a passage from the
assigned readings out loud. Sans typos, the standard
reaction, even with text that student can discuss pretty well, is that the
person who reads out loud cannot say anything about the
content of the paragraph read.

What does this mean for the discussion of consciousness?
Why is reading aloud a standard practice in reading instruction classrooms?

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Tony Whitson
UD School of Education
NEWARK  DE  19716


"those who fail to reread
 are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                  -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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