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[xmca] Re: Language Ideology and Ontologies

There's a chapter on "Peirce, Frege, Saussure, and Whorf: The Semiotic Mediation of Ontology" by Benjamin Lee in *Semiotic Mediation: Sociocultural and Psychological Perspective* edited by Elizabeth Mertz and Rick Parmentier. (I think this is the book Greg was referring to in response to my reference to the book edited by Hickmann. What Greg said applies equally to both books, though. Several chapter authors are in both, including Silverstein.)

I agree with Greg that "Talking Politics ... from Abe to "W" " is a better text for a beginning introduction to S.

On Fri, 9 Oct 2009, Tony Whitson wrote:

Greg (& Silverstein) are talking about context with regard to indexicality in language, not more generally about extra-linguistic ontology.

I think S is interested in how ideologies of being and existence are embedded in implicit ideologies of language, but that's different from theorizing about existence generally.

On Fri, 9 Oct 2009 ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org wrote:


I would agree.  I wasn't exampling existence though; I was trying to
correlate the squirrel to context.  Different horses but still in the same

Your take would be consistant seeing as James and Hegel were not


Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
10/09/2009 08:57 AM
Please respond to ablunden; Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture,

       To:     "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
       Subject:        Re: [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 53, Issue 8

I don't mind an operational definition of existence, but I'm
not so happy about the category of existence for me, i.e.,
an individual subjective definition of existence. I mean,
the existence of the squirrel depends on me? "Existence" is
surely something that is not dependent on my personal view
of things at the moment. Isn't that what "existence" means?


ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org wrote:
Could we return to James' example of the squirrel circling the tree.  If
person circles the tree so the squirrel is never in view does that
the existance of the squirrel for that person?  A person's context may
as the squirrel.  Hence, the talking past each other that happens
sooooooooo frequently on this listserv!  I being as guilty as any in my
misinterpretation based on my particular contextual understandings.

Jokes also fall into this category.  Some find Chris Rock to be
other view him as a blight on the American cultural landscape.

Context makes all the difference.

What do other's think?

Gregory Allan Thompson <gathomps@uchicago.edu>
Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
10/08/2009 03:26 PM
Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"

        To:     xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
        Subject:        [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 53, Issue 8

Ha! (to Mike)

Now the question, of course, with any instance of chaining
complexes is: What precisely is it that is being chained i.e.,
does Mike's "academic bullshit" refer to Bush/Palin or
Silverstein? or even, and this is a stretch, to me?. The
question being asked here is a question of the
entextualization of talk-as-text - i.e., how does an instance
of talk (as text) become entextualized such that it is
decodable as an instance of "talking about X" (or, for that
matter, "arguing about X").

As participants in conversation, we build a coherent
understanding of our interlocutor's utterance via a complex
ethnometapragmatics of indexicalities (aka "contextualization
cues"). It is through the congeries of indexicalities present
in a stretch of talk that individuals can then begin to
constitute an "X" that was being discussed. The catch is that
the meaning of individual indexicalities will depend on other
elements of the context of talk (which themselves are also
invoked through various layers of indexicality, some via
language, some via things like insittutional roles). In
particular, the frame of the interaction (what is going on
here? - i.e. what are we "doing" here - collegially chatting?
arguing? berating? joking?) becomes essential for decoding
what is being indexically conjured up as the entexutalized
"chain complex". In addition, it is further helpful to have
knowledge of the identities of participants (who is this
person that has suggested this?), along with our own
ethnopsychologies of speakers' intentionalities and things
like this (what might such a person have "intended" by this
utterance?). (as a footnote, I liken the complexity of
interactions to the three body problem in Physics, each layer
of determining context is affecting the other such that, just
as it is impossible to predict the movement of three bodies in
orbit around one another in three dimenasions, it is
impossible to predict the precise outcome of a given stretch
of talk.). And after all that, there is always the possibility
that as a participant A) you could be wrong or B) something
new is introduced into the conversation that flips the meaning
of what came before (what Silverstein calls the defeasibility
of contexts).
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