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Re: [xmca] Folk Psychology from a narrative perspective

I often feel I shouldn't interject when I don't have time to respond and to participate responsibly.

However, in this case I again feel I might have something quick to offer that could help with some clarity as the discussion ensues.

There are huge problems spawned by the many senses in which "history" is used in English (and I can see this especially as a specialist in social studies education).

Sometimes history means "past, not present," as when our local Fox affiliate, which ran its nightly news at 10:00 pm instead of the 11:00 hour used by affiliates of the big 3 networks (back when that was the situation), advertised in TV Guide (back when that was still a widely-used print magazine:

"At 10:00 it's news; at 11:00 it's history."

Sometimes "you're history" or he/she/that's "history" means no longer relevantly real; sometimes it can mean never came about in the first place, as in "All-Star Game is history", when the annual NBA game was cancelled (in advance) b/c of an impending strike.

More significant, I think, is that in English we don't have terms for differentiating between the study of a phenomenal domain, and the domain itself, as in the Chinese lishixue v. lishi. Maybe David Ke would have some thoughts on whether this is relevant.

On Wed, 26 Jan 2011, Larry Purss wrote: o

Hi David Ke

Your distinction between history and narrative is interesting.  Do you think
Bruner collapses the distinction. Hutto's framework on narratives is that
they are forms of story-telling that give "reasons for actions" in terms of
beliefs and desires which are the folk psychological frameworks that are
culturally grounded frames of reference.  He suggests this form of
explanation is socioculturally grounded.  My recollection of Bruner's work
is he suggests it is one of the two basic forms of constructing meaning.
Therefore, for Bruner, history would be a particular form of narrative.

David, if Hutto's work interests you, I would also google his edited book
"Folk Psychology Reassessed" which gives alternative theoretical approaches
which are challenging the "theory theory" model and "simulation" model of
folk psychology.  The edited volume situates Hutto's work in a larger stream
of thought.

On this topic of folk psycholgy I'm currently reading a book "Philosophy in
the Flesh" by Lakoff & Johnson that posits BASIC or PRIMARY forms of
cognition as fundamentally metaphorical. We imaginally compare a source
concept to a target concept.   The SOURCE concept of these primary cognitive
structures are ALWAYS based in our physical bodies. Lakoff & Johnson suggest
from these primary metaphors more complex metaphorical meanings develop.  If
this perspective is accurate, then language is not the SOURCE of our most
basic metaphors. The source is in the sensory-motor or somatic embodied
cognition. Language expresses these basic metaphors.  If there is some merit
in this position then education and developmental science should engage with
basic primary metaphors as foundational in the emergence of cognitive
capacity and in how these basic metaphors IMPLICITLY structure our folk

From this perspective of primary metaphor as embodied  it is not too big a
step  to reflect on primary intersubjectivity as a precursor to secondary
intersubjectivity.  I have a hunch these 2 constructs are intimately


On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 4:14 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:

Wow--I have to get that book! Thanks, Larry.

The way I understand David Kirshner's work is this: there is really only
ONE of the three meta-discourses in education that is narrative, at least
narrative in the sense of oriented towards the action of a hero in a problem
space who evaluates and achieves some kind of resolution.

That's his THIRD meta-discourse, the one which sees education as a process
of becoming a participant, a member, a practioner and as mastering a
particular set of discourses that accompany membership.

It seems to me that his first meta-discourse, which sees education as a
process of mastering skills, is not narrativist, because it focuses on
problem solutions and pretty much ignores the hero and the evaluation of the
problem space.

His second meta-discourse, which sees education as a process of acquiring
conceptual knowledge, is not narrativist either, because it sees this
knowledge as being not embodied in a particular hero and because it sees the
knowledge as being quite separable from the solution of problems.

I don't think this means that DHK would consider the third meta-discourse
the most complete. I think it's only the most complete if we view it from a
narrativist point of view, and that is no coincidence, since it co-evolved
with a lot of Bruner's work.

I have a question about the difference between narrative and history (as in
"cultural historical"). It seems to me that everything we say about
narrative (its structure, it's "I-ness" and even its past-to-present
orientation) is radically UNTRUE of history (because history is not
structured around heroes in problem spaces, it is not "I" shaped, and it is
oriented present-to-past). Why, then, do people of our peculiar historical
epoch treat the two as synonymous?

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

--- On Wed, 1/26/11, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Subject: [xmca] Folk Psychology from a narrative perspective
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 2:38 PM

I have attached a book review for others interested in a perspective on
psychology that assumes a perspective inspired by Jerome Bruner's work on
narrative practices,  Hutto is positing a 2nd person dialogical grounding
for understanding "reasons for actions"  He suggests this mode of
understanding is most pronounced when actions are unpredictable.  Hutto
suggests there are other more direct embodied forms of recognition and
engagement that are not narrative based.

I see some affinity in this perspective to David Kirschner's approach to
learning theory as narrative based genres.


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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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