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[xmca] Narrative Is Not History
I always thought that "lishixue" was "historiography" in English. It was what my late stepfather, Burton Stein, did.
Burt always taught me that history is written from present to past, that recency has a decided prority not simply because it provides the bulk of the evidence but also because history seeks to be explanatory.
That makes sense to me; it's what Marx means when he says the key to the anatomy of the ape is man, and it's what Vygotsky means when he criticizes Stern for being antigenetic and Piaget for ignoring that pure knowledge ascends from precausal juxtaposition to the ascription of causes.
Speech is like this too: the sentence "I was hungry, so I had lunch" is a narrative. But the sentence "I had lunch because I was hungry" is a history. And the latter sentence is far more common and even in some sense more natural than the former.
Seoul National University of Education
--- On Wed, 1/26/11, Tony Whitson <twhitson@UDel.Edu> wrote:
From: Tony Whitson <twhitson@UDel.Edu>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Folk Psychology from a narrative perspective
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 5:42 PM
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
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
"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 <email@example.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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> From: Larry Purss <email@example.com>
>> Subject: [xmca] Folk Psychology from a narrative perspective
>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> 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.
>> -----Inline Attachment Follows-----
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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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