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Re: [xmca] Peter Smagorinsky on concepts

On 14 January 2012 17:50, ANTHONY M BARRA <tub80742@temple.edu> wrote:

> Does anyone remember that xmca discussion on concepts from last April that
> generated over 100 responses?  It's a fascinating re-read, especially in a
> single retrospective stream.  I grappled with it last week, alongside Peter
> Smagorinsky's new book, *Vygotsky and Literacy Research: a Methodological
> Framework*<
> https://www.sensepublishers.com/product_info.php?products_id=1374&osCsid=1a7
> >,
> before interviewing Peter for the Vimeo CHAT group-page.  Peter's personal
> story of appropriating Vygotsky and his discussion of the "fuzzy" interplay
> between everyday and academic concepts were particularly interesting to
> me.  As were the many true-life landscaping metaphors he used to discuss
> concept development.
> Anyway, the interview is here
> <http://vimeo.com/groups/chat/videos/34706097>if anyone would like to
> check it out.  *full url:
> http://vimeo.com/groups/chat/videos/34706097

Thanks Anthony.  That was fun to watch.

I jotted down a few notes whilst watching, which may be relevant for you:

1.  (Pure, i.e. unassisted by theory) Empirical knowledge can only proceed
by trial and error, or by participation (with those who know).
Theoretical knowledge allows us to search in a directed fashion.  That is,
the (scientific) conceptual knowledge, and the thinking from which it is
derived, is able to lead our behaviour.

2.  This aspect of directed search is the same activity as design.

3.  The appreciation of the interrelations amongst the designed for
elements, and how the elements are different depending on where they are
situated is an example of the interrelations of process and form.

4.  On "word meaning" my preference is to think about sentence meaning.
Here it will be clearer that words, absent from a sentence, do not comprise
a completed meaning.  They have aspects which are defined, ofcourse,  but
these definitions only form part of a system of meaning which is derived
from the synthesis of all the words in a sentence (and wider contexts).  To
ascribe a "completed" "word meaning" to "all those meanings implied by all
possible sentences in which this word can be used" would be like trying to
put the whole world in a shoe box, because the system of constraints that
comprises all of the sentences is greater than those that comprise the
word.   Word meaning in this light is then a different genus of meaning to
sentence meaning, it is a derivative of sentence meaning just as
acceleration is the derivative of velocity (with time), hence they are not
of the same type (genus).  I suspect that the fuzziness to which you refer
is partially the confusion of types of meaning.  If instead of this
elaborate interpretation of word meaning that encompasses all of the
ambiguities that arise of its use in a sentence, we refer to "word meaning"
as simply the known system of constraints that are the conventional
definition of a word and that participate in sentence meaning, then we have
a more tractable account of word usage that is also (I believe) more in
line with scientific concepts, hence word and concept align better.


> Thanks,
> Anthony Barra
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