[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] Imitation and the Zoped: Time to summarize?

I love that quote from Philosophical Investigations too, and I have used it many times. It was probably the third or fourth time that I used it in a seminar that I was struck by Wittgenstein's insistance on the word "look" (as opposed to "say" or "think" or even "play") and it occurred to me that what he is really saying is not that there is nothing in common, but rather that there is no external, visual, phenomenological trait that links all the games. But there may be more essential ones, and so too, mutatis mutandis, with language.
It seems to me that what Wittgenstein is really doing is giving a specific instance of Marx's comment that if the essence of things were actually readable from their external features, there would be no need for scientific inquiry whatsoever. In fact, there is not one but TWO features that all games have in common, namely imaginary situations on the one hand and abstract rules on the other.
The problem is not simply that neither one is phenomenological, accessible either through inspection or introspection. The problem is also that they are constantly shape-shifting: games which begin with visualizable roles become those that have only abstract rules, a chess game goes from being a proxy "war" to being what von Neumann so correctly calls a super-human feat of calculation rather than a contest (because in theory there is only one right move in each situation). 
And it seems to me that it is precisely THIS metamorphosis, the shift from the visualizable role to the purely abstract concept, that forms the ZBR in the situations I am talking about. For younger children, it may be the ability to go from the visual to the merely visualizable, but for my kids it's a matter of mastery and graspture: being able to dispense with the visualizable in their thinking altogether and being able to formulate roles as rules.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

--- On Wed, 1/5/11, Lois Holzman <lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org> wrote:

From: Lois Holzman <lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Imitation and the Zoped: Time to summarize?
To: lchcmike@gmail.com, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Wednesday, January 5, 2011, 7:52 AM

I wonder if I missed something about the ZBR...

Also I wonder where you, Mike, see a lack of clarity, or what clarity would look like. I see variations and differences of opinion.

Regarding kinds of imitation I think there is no "essence" or any one thing that one could say ties them all together or that they have in common. Here's a place where Wittgenstein's "family resemblances" is so helpful (to me).  For those who are not familiar, I quote portions of some passages from Philosophical Investigations: 
65.   Here we come up against the great question that lies behind all these considerations.-For someone might object against me: "You take the easy way out! You talk about all sorts of language-games, but have nowhere said what the essence of a language-game, and hence of language, is: what is common to all these activities, and what makes them into language or parts of language. So you let yourself off the very part of the investigation that once gave you yourself most headache, the part about the general form of propositions and of language." 

And this is true.—Instead of producing something common to all that we call language, I am saying that these phenomena have no one thing in common which makes us use the same word for all,—but that they are related to one another in many different ways. And it is because of this relationship, or these relationships, that we call them all "language". I will try to explain this. 

Consider for example the proceedings that we call "games". I mean board-games, card-games, Olympic games, and so on. What is common to them all?—Don't say: "There must be something common or they would  not be called 'games'" but look and see whether there is anything common to all.—For if you look at them you will not see something that is common to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series of them at that. To repeat: don't think, but look!—Look for example at board-games, with their multifarious relationships. ...

67. I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than "family resemblances"; for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament, etc. etc. overlap and cries-cross in the same way.—And I shall say: 'games' form a family.  

I really love this guy!




Don't forget to check out the latest at http://loisholzman.org

Lois Holzman, Ph.D.
Director, East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy
920 Broadway, 14th floor
New York NY 10010
Chair, Global Outreach for UX (www.allstars.org/ux)
tel. 212.941.8906 ext. 324
fax 718.797.3966

On Jan 1, 2011, at 11:00 PM, mike cole wrote:

> It is my sense that perhaps we have reached a plateau in our discussion of
> Imitation and the Zoped.
> We have a number of examples of different "kinds" of imitation. But
> surprisingly (why did I not see this coming?) we were less clear about zoped
> than imitation, and perhaps owing to this lack of clarity we veered of to
> consider (e.g., we used the method of dual stimulation on ourselves)
> imagination and creativity as a way of better specifying the senses in which
> we meant "imitation."
> The question for me is, where to now? My intuition tells me that we ought to
> consolidate our accumulated material about imitation in relation to
> imagination and creativity and then return to consider what a zoped is (I am
> talking about pedagogy with a little magic here, Lois, since it is part of
> my understand  of the ZBR, but can translate among acronyms if they do not
> proliferate too much!)
> :-)
> I am pretty clear about David's advice that take the unconcious/conscioius
> distinction seriously. It is going to become important when we think about
> imitation vis a vis the zoped.It is my sense that we are collectively
> unclear on  this score. Ana ( I think! So many interesting notes), suggested
> that even adults may (perhaps must) imitate unconsciously as a condition of
> social interaction. That accords with my experience in dealing in a local
> language that is not my own and a variety of unsystematic observations that
> Ana's note brings to mind. Ana also reminds of the many social-pragmatic
> functions of different kinds of imitation, making any hard and fast scale
> difficult to create.
> Now all we need is for the New Year's Fairy to jump up and hand us a
> summary!
> mike
> __________________________________________
> _____
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list