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Re: [xmca] activity (was concepts)
On 20 April 2011 18:57, <ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org> wrote:
> Please explain to me how someone can "wield a concept"? I am not even
> sure about the expression "grasp a concept".
The strangeness is somewhat deliberate and helps to avoid thinking of
concepts as some kind of bean in a bean jar. Basically the systemic
dynamics and changes that take place with, say, learning to vault with a
pole are thought of as systemically equivalent to those in use of a
concept. That is, it is about the relations we adopt and the changing
internal relation with respect to this mediation. This is my understanding
of why certain social phenomena is able to appear later as mental phenomena.
Similarly, as we can shift our weight in the use of a pole, we can shift our
meanings in the use of a referent. I can decide, and change my mind about
what a knotted handkerchief means, or in looking at a chessboard I can
rejuggle what the referents (e.g. squares) hold and what the consequences
are. Also, as this is an action in the course of an activity it is a means
of achieving a goal, i.e. we are selecting and wielding a tool to achieve
My wiktionary app supports this usage:
-- hold and use ( a weapon or _tool_ )
-- have and be able to use ( _power_ or influence )
> When there is a word that is
> generalized to the extent of; hmmm....let's pick moon; it is not a
> decisive tool of distinction but rather, as LSV points out, "word meaning
> is the elementary cell that cannot be further analyzed. . . it is the
> unity between thought and word" We cannot say that our earth has THE
But in conversation we can state, "The moon is out and bright
> tonight." I can provide a crowd with my moon but perhaps get arrested and
> a smiling cherub of a child could display their moon of a face. IMHO
> moon's word meaning is the concept present in these thoughts and words.
> Not something weilded or grasped but perhaps active?
Well, in the simplest sense of active I'd say that in the concept use
example that I made up, the concept was selected.
A difference in your use of concept here appears to be that the concept is
not a tool for the overt action, it doesn't mediate the original action but
describes the mediation. You appear to be using a figurative tool to
describe the use of an action (mooning in this example).
> what do other's think? bill blanton or bill borowy out there?
> From: Huw Lloyd <email@example.com>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> Date: 04/20/2011 12:32 PM
> Subject: Re: [xmca] activity (was concepts)
> Sent by: email@example.com
> On 20 April 2011 10:43, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > I appreciate all the thoughtful good will going into the attempts to
> > common grounding and explore one's own thinking in this/these
> > thread/threads.
> > I fear i violated Tony's reasonable 2 cents rule because I, too, have
> > too little time to write and the intermixing of pieces of threads and
> > added to the difficulties.
> > I believe that Andy identified one problem when he pointed out that Huw,
> > coming from a somewhat different (and relevant!) tradition(s) introduced
> > concepts such as activity as he understood them from, say, Maturana or
> > Bateson. So, for example, he pointed to Jim Wertsch's *Mind as Action*
> as a
> > source for explication of the concept of activity using the pole
> > example.
> Kind of. I'm saying mediation and activity go together. In, for example,
> the scheme Wertsch provides (p204, VATSFOM):
> Activity -- Motive
> Action -- Goal
> Operation -- Conditions.
> A good place, it seems, to locate the use of concepts (i.e. those things
> gained during dual stimulation experiments) is in the regulation of
> However, I'd say that the concept used influences the dynamics, as it can
> change the situation.
> Consider this simplified account. A man is queuing at a supermarket. He
> only has 10 dollars (or some other currency), yet he needs the food to
> his family. He's got a number of items, all of which he needs, though
> might tally up to more than 10 dollars. Let's say they add up to 9.99. If
> he can confidently do the math and has done so, his whole experience will
> different to the circumstances he'd be in if he found those kind of
> conceptual operations difficult. He wields these concepts in the act of
> doing the math (the concepts mediate this act). But these circumstances
> will also mediate his activity as a whole as they influence his
> > But, Jim uses this example to talk about mediated action in
> > context, his preferred unit of analysis at the time (at the end of
> > *Vygotsky
> > and the Social Formation of mind-*- which you can find whole on the
> > internet
> > but not download- he DOES discuss notions of activity following LSV).
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