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Re: [xmca] A Good Class or a Good Show?

David, as I understood it, for James or Lange, this first response, as you call it, is that the somatic response *is* our "feeling sad", rather than *our perception of* the somatic response causing us to "feel sad."

But either way, there are two aspects of this which are open to experimental testing. (1) If nervous messages from the body are blocked, then we can't feel emotion, if James and Lange are right. (2) A short time delay should be detectable betweem muscle tension (for example) and being conscious of the emotion.

Vygotsky's article is hard to search, so I can't verify this, but I seem to remember that LSV reported experimental results which negated both these claims. But my memory is poor.


David Kellogg wrote:
Mike, I think that the answer (to the temporary lull in the discussion of the Gratier et al article) is of course all of the below: final exams, end of quarter, and a certain amount of delicacy over an article that at least some of us see as deeply problematic (see Jay's comments, especially).
I often think it's more useful to bring whatever discussion we are currently having (e.g. bodies and artifacts, emotion and cognition) around to the article at hand rather than vice versa. Some of our most successful and fruitful discussions have (alas for me!) also been some of our most general. This is partly thanks to the very articulate and ardent philosophers on the list, but it's also because general means inclusive, transdisciplinary, a party to which every party's invited except the bouncer. Now it seems to me that the Gratier et al. article really does have a bearing on both the "bodies and artefacts" thread and the "emotion and cognition" one. As I already said, I think the "bodies and artefacts" connection is INTONATION and STRESS: this is the way that gesture really "goes underground" in language, and so I think that Gratier et al (and also Wolff-Michael Roth) are right to look at it in all its spectrographic splendor. But the level of detail we get that way has to somehow be harnessed to a more macrogenetic perspective to do much good. This time I have a comment on the "emotion and cognition" thread. In Chapter Two of Thinking and Speech, Vygotsky spends a LOT of time quoting Bleuler. I've just been reading Bleuler's book on autism in the library. Vygotsky likes him because of his rejection of the over-extended content of the autistic function (actually, as we shall see, an over-extended conception of the reality function).. We can see, even if Bleuler cannot, the beginnings of Hegelian triad describing the emergence of higher EMOTIONAL functions. The first, relatively unmediated response, to reality is an instance of the reality function, but it is based on perception and sensation. Here the James-Lange formula that we feel sad because we perceive ourselves crying or we feel frightened because we feel the sensations of our body running away from a bear may be a useful metaphor (except for the obvious homunculus problem it raises), or at least a catchy inversion of the individual subjectivist view of the genesis of affect.
From this primal, biological response a second, more fully psychological response is born. As Bleuler points out, it requires a relatively complex response, because it involves the recollection of sensation, and even turning away from the immediate sources of sensation. This is the autistic function proper, and it is not genetically primary. When this response becomes linked to itself, rather than to objective events, we get “irrealist” logic, the pleasure principle, the associative links of dreams which Vygotsky refuses to call “symbolic”.
Finally, there is a third response, which is “realistic” in the sense that it is oriented towards an objective state of affairs existing between people rather than within them. Yet it is mediated, by recollection and reflection, and above all by language. Here is where we must look for higher affective functions, culturally mediated emotions, and conceptually based aesthetics. This third response is also where we need to look to find the basis of a Spinozan—a socialist—ethics; like the second response, it considers human pleasure and the satisfaction of desire to be a positive good. But like the first response, it is objective, in the sense that it is not individualistic but socially shared through and through. Bleuler, a biologically oriented psychologist, cannot get us this far. But Vygotsky can! When I read Gratier et al. I am impressed by how many of the descriptions of the Bridging Cultures Classroom contain descriptions of positive affect, and how many of the non-Bridging Cultures Classroom are rather negative. But of course a good class cannot simply be a chain of what Wolff-Michael calls emotionally positive valences; some such chains are going to be at the lowest level of physical response (e.g. the satisfaction of desire, such as when kids get treats in class) and a good many more are going to be at the level Bleuler is calling autistic; the chain of "one positive valence after another" that we often see as a substitute for plot in children's literature and a substitute for a script in kids' movies. So we need more than glowing descriptions in order to see what experienced teachers see at a glance: the difference between a good show and a good class! One of my grads is working on this right now; the idea is to test the positive valence of particular topics in a conversation by counting the number of times they get brought up voluntarily by one child and continued by others. We initially thought we would use this technique just to find out who the kids wanted to talk about: did they want to talk about the characters in the textbook, or about their teacher an their classmates? Surprisingly, they often chose the textbook characters, and they were particularly interested in...the TEACHER character. In their chat about real people, they also prefer the teacher as a topic. Perhaps this is part of OUR culture, though! While writing this, though, a problem occurred to me. The topics that get the most "hits" and which run the longest in classroom conversations really represent two rather contradictory things: the ability to stimulate interventions from the most voluble participants, and the ability to generalize to the interests of the greatest possible number. On xmca, of course, that means topics of a certain generality and abstractness. In our classroom data, though, that tends to mean the teacher. David Kellogg Seoul National University of Education
--- On Sun, 12/13/09, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] bodies and artifacts
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Sunday, December 13, 2009, 8:38 AM

My apologies for posting the les treilles paper twice. it did not show on my
screen. As "recompense" here is a review of a book that
promotes the idea of "bio-cultural co-constructivism" without mention of
Vygotsky anywhere. Perhaps, as a result, it leads some of its adherents into
some (in my opinion) inappropriate reduction of culture to "the
environment," thereby opening up a very old, very stinky, can of worms.

Question: Many people on XMCA voted to discuss the
"Tacit Communicative Style and Cultural Attunement in Classroom
but very few have followed David's lead in discussing it directly.
Is it because of final exam time on both a quarter and semester system in
the US? Or voting as a prelude to spectatorship? Where are those voters?


On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 7:20 AM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

The book description came through, Larry. Attached is the most recent
Fonagy article i could find that appeared general. His work looks very
interesting, thanks. I have not read it yet, but that fact that Gergeley is
a co-author indicates that issues of intentionality are involved and I am
very curious to see if the effects you talk about are connected with changes
at 9months. First guess, it would fit with Tomasello and Vygotsky, but if it
fits with Trevarthan and primary intersubjectivity it will be a suprise.
We'll see.

A brief paper on this topic I wrote for an audience for whom the idea that
culture mediates human activity was a novelty, and that there is a two way
relation between "natural" and "cultural" is also attached.

thanks a lot for the pointer.

On Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 10:10 PM, Larry Purss <lpurss@shaw.ca> wrote:

I sent an attachment through CHAT but I don't think it went through.
Fonagy and three other authors wrote the book "Affect regulation,
Mentalization, and the Development of the Self.
It is an extension of Bowlby's and Winnicott's approach (He works at the
same Tavistock institute in London) and its interweaving with his
understanding of Hegel and intersubjectivity theory.
The summary of infant studies from a relational framework is excellent.
Some of the "clinical" approaches in the second half of the book may be
Also I wonder how feminist scholars may critique the focus on "mothers"?

However the detail (though sometimes overwhelming) is systematically
presented and builds a coherent perspective on the centrality of relational
processes to the development of subjectivity.

----- Original Message -----
From: Vera Steiner <vygotsky@unm.edu>
Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009 8:04 pm
Subject: Re: [xmca] bodies and artifacts
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

Hi Larry,
I would be interested in a link to Fonagy's recent publications.
I am
related to him and am doubly curious about his work.
Thanks, Vera
----- Original Message -----
From: "Larry Purss" <lpurss@shaw.ca>
To: <ablunden@mira.net>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
Sent: Saturday, December 12, 2009 8:51 PM
Subject: Re: [xmca] bodies and artifacts


I believe the reason we are cautious about brain research is it
implies "biology" as foundational to being human.  The
reason I mention
Fonagy and others exploring the foundational premises of infant
is they are starting from intersubjectivity as prior to
subjectivity and it
is only within relational contexts that a sense of subjectivity
arises or
emerges. They are using brain research to support this
relational paradigm.

----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009 7:28 pm
Subject: Re: [xmca] bodies and artifacts
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>


In my first forrays into this discussion on emotion, I found
myself introducing talk of physiological observations in a
way I would never have thought of doing in relation to
cognition. After reading about the 300 years of reflections
on the physiology of emotion in Vygotsky's article, I was
left asking myself: why? Why do I think it is important to
investigate the physiology of emotion, while I hold such a
low opinion of the place of physiological investigations in
understanding the normal process of cognition.

Consciousness is the outcome of the intersection of two
objective processes: human physiology and human behaviour.
This is equally true of both emotion and cognition.

While the marketing, military and medial industries are
spending billions of dollars on neurological investigations,
I would think that CHAT people would be interested in
questions like the role of emotion in learning, behaviour,
addicition, the formation of social bonds, and so on,
investigating such questions with dual stimulation type
experiments, with artifacts that are more or less affect-laden.


Larry Purss wrote:
Your comment that this leaves us only at the starting gate of
understanding how bodies can be "written on"  points to the
research and reflection on the relation of changes in the brain
mediated by culture.
One area of research that is exploring how the brain is
changed via mediation is intersubjective infant developmental
studies that are mapping physiological changes in one person's
brain that "mirrors" similar  physiological brain
changes  being generated during the activity of the
other  person.  Fonagy is doing research in this area
and has written a detailed summary of the research in this area.
His term for this intersubjective process is "mentalization".

----- Original Message -----
From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009 12:19 pm
Subject: Re: [xmca] bodies and artifacts
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

I do not have all this sorted out by a long shot, but my own
of thinking
about the issue is that humans are hybrids, really complex
one's. Their
brains have LITERALLY been shaped by prior genrations of
mediation of
activity through material artifacts, their brains (and often
other parts of
the bodies) cannot operate normally without inclusion of
artifacts, they can
be "written on" as jay points out.

The problem is that this leaves us only at the starting gate
furtherdevelopment of this point of view. I found that
experimental study I sent
around sort of interest in this regard, even though it
such sketchy
detail and assumes so much about its cultural content and
organization. The
developmental implications, which in our current discussion
would mean, the
organization of hybridity during ontogeny, which in turn has
implicationsfor the cognition/emotion

On Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 5:36 PM, Jay Lemke
<jaylemke@umich.edu> wrote:

One of the ways I have found useful to think about the body
relation to
semiotic mediation is to see the body as, among other
a semiotic

What I mean by semiotic artifact is a material object or
substrate that can
be written on and read from, much like a printed page or an
architectural> drawing. Written on, in the general semiotic
sense, not necessarily in
words, but in signs of some kind: meaningful features that
be "read" or
made sense of by people (or nonhumans, but that's another
story) in that our
meaning-mediated world, and our actions that respond to
that world
(including by trying to change or re-create it or just
it in some
new way), are affected by our encounter with the features of
the semiotic
object, according to some community interpretive practices,
with our own
individual variations on them.

At a very obvious level, bodies can be dressed up in signs:
hair styles,
tans, cosmetics. And this can be taken to a more
form with
dress, or a more physiological form with, say, body-
From tattoos
to ripped abs is a small shift when we are thinking about
body as a
writable/readable object. If we want to get still more
physiological, and
think not only about reading other people's bodies, but
reading our own,
then the proprioceptive feelings we sense within out bodies
can be
considered signs as well, whether exhilaration or nausea,
strength or
weakness, etc. The meaning of these feelings is certainly
culturally>>> mediated. They are physiological phenomena, but
they are also
meaningful> cultural phenomena, with value judgements
with intertexts in
literature, etc.

And we can deliberately write to our most physiological
states, e.g. with
drugs, to produce feelings that have cultural meanings and
values for us,
whether of calm or elation, energy or hallucination. And to
considerable> extent, our modifications of our body
can be "read" by others,
just as can our made physiques, tattoos, or hair styles.

So I would say that the body mediates our sense of the world
and ourselves
and other people in at least two ways: directly through
physiology, as with
hormonal responses, sensory modalities of perception, bodily
affordances and
dis-affordances ("handicaps" for example), etc. AND also in
these other,
clearly semiotic and cultural ways, as a semiotic artifact,
well as with
the cultural overlays of meaning that lie over and color the
meanings and
responses to all the direct physiological mediations.

I do not, however, know what being wooden on a rainy day
like to a


Jay Lemke
Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
Educational Studies
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
www.umich.edu/~jaylemke <http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke> <
Visiting Scholar
Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication
University of California -- San Diego
La Jolla, CA
USA 92093

On Dec 7, 2009, at 4:14 AM, Mabel Encinas wrote:

Ok. You have a point. Then, lets start thinking from an
embodied approach

Let's accept that the body is an artifact. What is then the
difference>> between a chair and the body. Both are yes,
"products of human art", as you
express it. However, only in the process (practice) there
seem to be a
difference. Both are material and ideal (the body is not
separated from the
mind; the chair, this one here that I feel is made of cloth
and a cushioned
material, plastic, metal, and involves the ideal that a
designer and workers
in a factory transformed so people could seat on). What is
the difference?

  Date: Mon, 7 Dec 2009 22:53:40 +1100
From: ablunden@mira.net
To: liliamabel@hotmail.com
Subject: Re: [xmca] bodies and artifacts

Well, the body is the body is the body. The reason the
question arises for me is when we make generalisations in
which things like person, artefact, consciousness, concept,
action, and so on, figure, where does the body fit in? My
response was that even though it is obviously unique in many
ways, it falls into the same category as artefacts.

My questions to you are: what harm is done? why is anything
ignored? And, what is the body if it is not a material
product of human art, used by human beings?


Mabel Encinas wrote:

Is this way being fruitful? That is why I do not like to
consider the
body as an artifact. Did not cognitive pscyhology do
(Bruner, Acts
of Meaning). Then intentions and all the teleological
aspects are so
much ignored...


  Date: Mon, 7 Dec 2009 20:21:09 +1100
From: ablunden@mira.net
To: liliamabel@hotmail.com
Subject: Re: [xmca] bodies and artifacts

Sure. But the body has been constructed like a living
machine - the various artefacts that you use
(especially but
not only language and images) are "internalized" in some
way. So one (external) artefact is replaced by another
(internal) artefact. Yes?


Mabel Encinas wrote:

However, sometimes practices do not involve other artefact
than the body (some practices are directed to the
and that was
why I was talking about the limit of thinking about the
body as
artefact... is that a limit? That is why I mentioned
body as "the
raw material". I was thinking for example practices
linked to
and the like, for example, among many others.

Keep your friends updated— even when you’re not signed in.

Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov,
Ilyenkov $20 ea

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