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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 am in the middle of *Being Alive* so it is little wonder that in reading
(first) tony's note I thought immediately of Ingold. This entire way of
thinking seems very important to me including the links to Bateson that you
provide, Larry.

I am in-fluenced in this matter by a trip around the Olympic peninsula where
the remnants of a number of Native American groups that are historically a
part of the numerous people's inhabiting the northwest coast of the
continent live.

One strong impression from my trip was a clearly expressed cultural antimony
between pre-European - contact peoples and the northern Europeans who
subjugated them. I was particularly im-pressed by the way in which
traditional pre-European cultures seem to embody an ethos of living "in"
nature rather than triumphing "over" nature. Ingold was very much on my

I have also been thinking about the problems of xmca being "too narrow"
while iscar is "too broad" that Volker raised in an early post-ISCAR note. I
have not caught up with that discussion, but it seems we need some way to
share texts sufficiently to take them as a joint object of attention and
discussion if we are going to get past the "drive by reference" stage in
such matters. Or maybe that is not what xmca should strive for -- perhaps
just letting people know that there is Ingold, who references Gibson,
Merleau-Ponty, Bateson, etc is enough for those who wish to pursue matters.


PS- Another impression from this trip: The local people, both those who
trace ancestry to Native American and European routes are badly exploited in
that part of the world. The only people who seem to be benefiting are the
timber companies and the (relatively) wealthy people from Seattle and
elsewhere who spend money to enjoy walking in the national park or killing
the local fish -- money upon which the locals live as it trickles through
the rain.

On Sat, Sep 17, 2011 at 6:39 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Tony
> 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
> 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.
> Larry
> On Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 9:10 AM, Tony Whitson <twhitson@udel.edu> wrote:
> > My post should have connected more explicitly to Larry's very informative
> > post.
> >
> > 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
> >> something.
> >>
> >> 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
> >>> from
> >>> generation to generation. But for Ingold information is NOT knowledge
> nor
> >>> do
> >>> 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
> >>> the
> >>> 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
> >>> perceiver's
> >>> INVOLVEMENT dwelling in the world are not so much constructed as
> >>> discovered
> >>>
> >>> 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
> >>> "nature"
> >>> Ingold is critical of the phrase "natural environment" as conflating
> two
> >>> very distinct notions.
> >>>
> >>> Larry
> >>> ______________________________**____________
> >>> _____
> >>> xmca mailing list
> >>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> >>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>
> >>>
> >>>
> >> Tony Whitson
> >> UD School of Education
> >> NEWARK  DE  19716
> >>
> >> twhitson@udel.edu
> >> ______________________________**_
> >>
> >> "those who fail to reread
> >> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> >>                 -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
> >> ______________________________**____________
> >> _____
> >> xmca mailing list
> >> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> >> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>
> >>
> >>
> > Tony Whitson
> > UD School of Education
> > NEWARK  DE  19716
> >
> > twhitson@udel.edu
> > ______________________________**_
> >
> > "those who fail to reread
> >  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> >                  -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
> > ______________________________**____________
> > _____
> > xmca mailing list
> > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>
> >
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