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Re: Distinguishing between information as info'mation v in*formation Re: [xmca] The distinction between "information" and "knowledge" A response to Brandom
I see this line of inquiry as very promising. The notion of in*formation
that you point to seems to be the same family of ides" that Ingold is
exploring. As I pursue this line of inquiry I keep reflecting on Andy's
caution and ask if this is "merely" interactional assumptions of
"recognition" which he is trying to include within a third level [I agree
this third level is central but I wonder if this "second" interactional
level must also be explored as also central to the formation of the third
level.] I also struggle to include another level that points to issues that
can be summed up in the term "suffering stranger" or the calling of the
other and our responding to that calling. This speaks to issues of
dependency and vulnerabity as central aspects of our human condition.
"in*formation OF attention" & "education OF attention" are notions pointing
to a stance that does not privilege "form" as pre-existing
attention. Ingold, in engaging with Bateson has a section which he refers to
as *steps to an ecology of LIFE* in response to Bateson's "steps to an
ecology of MIND* Ingold points to Bateson's insight that information only
exists relative to the perceiver MOVING within his/her surroundings. Stable
features of the world are indistinguishable and imperceptible unless we MOVE
in relation to these features. We draw distinctions not by representing them
graphically but by "pulling them out of the surroundings" and making them
distinct. Life, in Ingold's view, "is not the realization of PRE-specified
forms but the very process wherein forms are GENERATED and HELD in place.
Every being, as it is caught up in this process and carries it forward,
arises as a singular center of awareness and AGENCY: an unfoldment, at some
particular nexus withIN it, of the generative POTENTIAL that is life itself"
[ quoted from kindle]
Tony, Ingolds notion of in*formation as form generated within an ecology of
life as "active" [not reactive] is his answer to Bateson's question What is
"organism plus environment"? For Ingold the plus is not an addition TO the
environment with the organism and environment as PRE-existing forms but
rather the "whole-organism-in-its-environment" as the "point of departure".
Organism plus environment is not a compound of two "things" but one
indivisible unity that is a developmental system and an ecology of life
[with a history] From this perspective FORM is EMERGENT within the life
force and Ingold maintains we therefore have "no need to appeal to a
distinct domain of mind" to account for pattern and meaning in the world.
Mind and consciousness are NOT a layer of being over and above that of the
life of organisms. For Ingold, what we call mind "is the cutting edge of the
life process itself, the ever MOVING front of what Alfred North Whitehead
called a 'creative advance into novelty' ".
As first mentioned above, this line of inquiry of in*formation as attention
[as an intersubjective dialogical life process] has potential to re-enchant
the world and intertwine "giving and asking for reasons" within a larger way
of life as orientation or wayfaring with others showing novices the way
forward and giving them the tools to use as compass points along the way. It
also has the potential to construct "hearths" along the way for suffering
strangers to meet and share stories of the way forward and offer each other
guideposts to MARK the way.
On Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 9:10 AM, Tony Whitson <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> My post should have connected more explicitly to Larry's very informative
> A quick way to do that would be to suggest that where "Ingold refers to
> this process as an EDUCATION OF ATTENTION [borrowed from Gibson]," that
> sounds close to seeing the same process as an "information of attention."
> On Fri, 16 Sep 2011, Tony Whitson wrote:
> I am proposing a distinction based on the difference between "information"
>> in its older sense, more related to "formation" in the sense of education
>> -understood-as-"formation" (formacao, Bildung, etc.) -- a sense of
>> "information" that is all but lost in current English usage -- versus the
>> sense of "information" as the word is used today.
>> In its older sense, I could say that his character is informed by her
>> influence, or that my ideas about something are informed by what I heard
>> from you last night. This is the information of my thinking by your
>> speaking, or the information of his character by her influence. Your
>> speaking did and DOES participate in the formation of my thinking about
>> The short form "info" denotes stuff, rather than active participation in a
>> formation (of persons, ideas, institutions, concepts, customs, etc., _as
>> formations_). I don't deny the reality or importance of information as
>> "info," but I think we need to recover the older sense, which we cannot do
>> without differentiating between "information" in the sanse of "info," and
>> "information" as a participatory, "informing" relationship, for which the
>> shortened "info" does not work. I am now using "info'mation" and
>> "in*formation" to mark this difference.
>> This way of marking the difference is changed slightly from how I did it
>> in a book review for MCA, which has not appeared yet in a printed issue, but
>> is available now online (pending final editing). That discussion (which
>> follows sections addressing each of the three books in the review) includes
>> OED definitions, but also some historical background on the relationship
>> between the now-prevailing idea of information and mathematical information
>> theory at the birth of cybernetics and cognitivism in psychology.
>> On Fri, 16 Sep 2011, Larry Purss wrote:
>> Andy, Arthur
>>> Ingold has an interesting position on the giving and asking for reasons.
>>> Ingold suggests information may be communicated in propositional form
>>> generation to generation. But for Ingold information is NOT knowledge nor
>>> we become any more knowledgeable through accumulating information. Our
>>> "knowledgeability consists in the capacity to SITUATE such information
>>> within the context of a DIRECT PERCEPTUAL ENGAGEMENT within our
>>> environments. Ingold emphasizes, we develop this knowledgeability not
>>> through gathering information but rather by having things SHOWN to us in
>>> order that we "experience" by touch, taste, smell, hearing, seeing, by
>>> other person so it can be apprehended directly. In that way the world is
>>> revealed or DISCLOSED bit by bit to the novice. Ingold refers to this
>>> process as an EDUCATION OF ATTENTION [borrowed from Gibson]. Through the
>>> fine-tuning of perceptual SKILLS the relational contexts of the
>>> INVOLVEMENT dwelling in the world are not so much constructed as
>>> A very interesting stance on "information" and "knowlege"
>>> The term "environment" is contrasted with "nature" We are INVOLVED and
>>> ENGAGED within environments but we take a stance of distance FROM
>>> Ingold is critical of the phrase "natural environment" as conflating two
>>> very distinct notions.
>>> xmca mailing list
>> 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)
>> xmca mailing list
> 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)
> xmca mailing list
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