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Re: [xmca] 2nd person perspective

Monica, Larry,

I think I have a general sense of what Reddy is proposing. She did her doctoral research in Trevarthen's lab at Edinburgh - he virtually pioneered detailed film studies of face to face interaction of very young children, 'primary intersubjectivity.' She's now at Portsmouth U, director of the Center for Developmental and Cultural Psychology.

She argues, following Trevarthen's line, that young children are able to engage with adults in fine-tuned synchronized interactions, at an age when even Alison Gopnik would be hard pressed to claim that they have formed theories of what is going on. Reddy argues that the whole 'theory of mind' movement is based on an inadequate relationship between psychologists and the people we study - one that objectifies them, and turns them into cognizing minds hidden inside bodies. On such an assumption, the only way one can know another person is to form a theory about them. The only way to know anything, in fact, is to form a theory, a mental model, a cognitive representation. 

But infants are actively involved with other, and Reddy argues that in participation with others we need no theories in order to understand them. Her methodological claim is that psychologists need to actively participate with the people they study, in an second-person, I-you relationship rather with a third person objectifying stance, rather a claim with which I have some sympathy. She draws, as has Trevarthen, on John Macmurray, a Scottish philosopher with some similarities to Mead and to Buber.  (See, for example, Reddy, V., & Morris, P. (2004). Participants don't need theories: Knowing minds in engagement. Theory & Psychology, 14(5), 647-665. doi:10.1177/0959354304046177)

But her theoretical point is that we see in young children a participatory understanding of other people. And that this leads to an understanding, presumably also participatory, of self. That's where I get a bit confused. For one thing, an it seems more accurate to describe the infant as being in a 'we' relationship (first person plural) rather than an I-thou relationship. LSV called infancy the time of the 'great-we,' the we before an I. He proposed that the infant experiences communality with others before she has consciousness of her own existence as a differentiated and separated “I.” The “we” of infancy does not, then, include the “I” but is the basis for a later differentiation of the “I” as part of the “we.” Infancy, wrote LSV, is a time of mental life without a center. “He lives, but he is not conscious of his life himself” (text on child psychology, p. 233). 

LSV referred to Wallon’s research on the child’s conception of the body, concluding that the infant doesn’t at first distinguish her own body from objects in the world; she becomes aware of objects before becoming aware of her body. The infant first understands hands and feet as objects, learning to coordinate their movements before recognizing that they are parts of her body; parts of *her.*

This suggests that the triadic intentionality (joint reference) that appears around 12 months is a differentiation of objects within the we-relationship of infancy. This in turn implies that the more basic intentionality that Schlicht writes about is not dyadic in the sense of being an infant-object relationship, but is at most an infant-adult or perhaps we-object relationship.

During the first year, the infant increasingly masters this primary sociability, deliberately influencing others to obtain what is wanted. When she starts to walk and talk, presumably this provides a sense, a consciousness, of her agency as a capacity distinct from that of other people. To this point, she has needed other people to fetch and carry for her; now she begins to do this herself. It seems to me that it is at this point that we can speak of the start of an I-you relationship between toddler and others. The fact that the attachment 'bond' now appears is evidence, somewhat paradoxically, for this differentiation, which as I mentioned yesterday LSV calls a 'biological separation.'  The toddler becomes increasingly 'willful,' directing and controlling her agency. One sign of this is the way a toddler will choose not to do something precisely because she is told to do it! This is the age when parents resort to calling “goodbye!” to try to get their toddler to follow them. 

But LSV suggests that this is still a differentiation within the 'great-we,' and I think he's right. It is only as the world becomes increasingly stable and objective during this stage, from 1 year to 30 months, that the toddler becomes aware of herself as an independent entity within it. At first the toddler has little sense of herself as a separate being, distinct from other people. She starts to contrast self with the artifacts she encounters, but still in a social situation in which she is merged with other people. The first distinction made in the toddler's consciousness, LSV proposed, is between I and object, not between I and other person. For these reasons, the toddler continues for some time to assume without question that other people will know her wishes immediately. 

Over the course of the second year, however, the toddler becomes conscious that she is an entity apart from others - not just a separate agency, but a separate object (a body of her own). Rouged-nose experiments presumably show that she has become an object in her own eyes, so that she can recognize that the image in the mirror is in some sense also herself. And the other side of this self-awareness seems to be evident in secondary emotions, such as shame, which also appear towards the end of toddlerhood. Here the child shows she is aware of being an object in the eyes of other people.

All of this is prior to any capacity to form mental representations; or even, for that matter, to recognize material representations. The latter is something that marks the transition into early childhood at around 30 months. 

This, at least, is my rough and ready reconstruction. I'm not certain whether Reddy would agree. All corrections welcomed!


On Mar 20, 2012, at 2:46 PM, Larry Purss wrote:

> Monica
> Here are the articles by Tobias Schlicht & Evan Thompson
> Tobias describes 4 types of intentionality.  The distinction between his
> 1st and 2nd types [dyadic intentionality &  triadic joint attenion] I found
> helpful.  However, reading  Tobias 4th level,  positing cognitive  mental
> representations, can be challenged. Acquiring the skill of positing beliefs
> and desires ABOUT objects [as propositional] may not be internal cognitive
> mental activity [in the head] but actually be skillful  "narrative
> compositions" ABOUT mental beliefs and desires.  [ I can send articles by
> Daniel Hutto on this distinction, who is still working within an enactive
> model.]
> Monica, I'm also attaching Evan Thompson's first 60 pages of his new book
> *Mind In Life* which is extending his work with Varela and Rosch.
> I would be interested in others who may know more about the 3 types of
> phenomenology [static, genetic, and generative] as they may help me tease
> out the place of subjectivity and agency in cultural historical theory.
> Larry
> On Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 12:07 PM, monica.hansen <
> monica.hansen@vandals.uidaho.edu> wrote:
>> I am interested in the paper on enactive apporoach. Larry. Incidentally,
>> am working on a critical discourse analysis right now discussing use of
>> point of view as indication of agency in participants' poetry in content
>> literacy class.
>> Consciousness and understanding are two very different phenomena. Of
>> course they are related in mental functioning, the how of it being still
>> much debated in scientific communities. Did anyone see the articles about
>> free will in yesterdays online Chronicle of Higher Ed? I have often
>> wondered if the initial focus of understanding learning shouldn't have been
>> aimed at attention all along, rather than what generally pass for higher
>> level cognitive abilities. The phenomenon we call attention is more messy
>> and less easily defined; it is also more inricately interwoven in aspects
>> of the social interrelationtionships, more so than aspects of the
>> individual (as consciousness is). The work being done on joint attention
>> then yields some interesting analyses at all ages.
>> Monica
>> ________________________________________
>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] on behalf
>> of Larry Purss [lpscholar2@gmail.com]
>> Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 11:20 PM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] 2nd person perspective
>> Martin
>> My understanding of Reddy's 2nd person approach is informed by my
>> understanding of the  "enactive" approach to consciousness and
>> intentionality.
>> Infants are first aware that they are the focus of mother's intentional
>> directedness towards them. This experience of primary intersubjectivity
>> calls forth infant expressions that are intentionally directed at mother.
>>> From an enactve standpoint this context of "joint attention" is a form of
>> consciousness and is best characterized as an ACT of attending rather than
>> a form of information exchange. Focal attention is a continuous process
>> EXECUTED by a human agent at 2 months of age. The alternation of attention
>> between the object and the other subject is an active engagement involving
>> coordinated joint attention.
>> Martin, within the theory of enactive embodied expression, sensorimotor
>> intentionality IS a form of consciousness because it is a form of  ACTING
>> intentionally sharing joint attention.
>> The term *understanding* does not apply at this sensorimotor level of
>> agentic action [within enactive theory]
>> The developmental emergence of 1st and 3rd person forms of intentionality
>> [and forms of consciousness] develop from being immersed in this 2nd person
>> *form of life*.
>> Evan Thomson who worked with Varela suggests there 3 distinct approaches to
>> understanding phenomenology as it applies to enactive approches.
>> 1] STATIC - consciousness constitutes [brings to awareness or discloses]
>> the world. Objects are taken as GIVEN synchronically.
>> 2] GENETIC - Intentional structures and objects EMERGE through time [NOT
>> given] For example HOW implicit and prereflective experiences develop
>> attentive and reflective experiences.  Experience has a SEDIMENTED
>> structure in relation to the living body and time-consciousness.
>> 3] GENERATIVE - whereas for genetic phenomenology time-consciousness and
>> the lived body are key concepts, for generative phenomenology the guiding
>> thread is *the life world*. The focus shifts to our cultural, historical,
>> and intersubjective constitution of the human world.
>> These ideas from E. Thompson are in his book "Mind In Life"
>> If interested I can attach a 6 page article on "Enactive Social Cognition"
>> or the first chapter of E. Thompson's new book extending his work with
>> Varela and Rosch.
>> Larry
>> On Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 2:26 PM, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:
>>> Larry, Rod, Monica et al.
>>> I've been reading Reddy's article, and while I think she's completely
>>> correct in her identification of a complex and subtle relatedness during
>>> the first year of life, or even the first months (I've always been a fan
>> of
>>> Colwyn Trevarthen's work), I'm having trouble getting some things clear.
>>> Reddy writes that "the self is emotionally aware of being an object to
>>> others before it is an object to itself." We are talking, then, about at
>>> least two forms of self-consciousness - namely consciousness of self as
>> an
>>> object to other people, plus consciousness of self as an object to
>> oneself.
>>> Add to that the consciousness that a child comes to have of self as an
>>> agent, a subject....
>>> Recognition of self in a mirror seems to be Cs of self as an object, no?
>>> Secondary emotions such as shame would be evidence for Cs of self as an
>>> agent (and hence as having responsibility for some action or event) - or
>>> would they be evidence of Cs of self as an object in the eyes of others
>>> (who hold one accountable)? Or both?
>>> See, I'm hopelessly confused! Has anyone figured out Reddy's position? Or
>>> have a coherent account of when children acquire these different forms of
>>> Cs? Add to the mix the fact that for LSV the crisis at 12m is the child
>>> differentiating biologically from the mother, while the crisis at 30m is
>>> the child differentiating psychologically. Each of these is evidently a
>> new
>>> kind of self/other distinction. Do they align with Reddy's account?
>>> Martin
>>> On Mar 18, 2012, at 7:31 PM, Larry Purss wrote:
>>>> David and Monica
>>>> The central question is still how we get from empathy to objectivity;
>>> from
>>>> 2nd person to 3rd person perspectives.
>>>> David, I will pause at the recognition that 2nd person lived experience
>>> may
>>>> be a basic form of experience and therefore a central mode of
>> interaction
>>>> throughout the life span. That re-cognition is a difference which may
>>> make
>>>> a difference.
>>>> David, you wrote
>>>> "Neither unit is "activity" in the sense used by activity theorists;
>>>> neither has an outcome in production. Neither inheres in a purely
>>> "you-me"
>>>> relationship which can be and often is carried out without any use of
>>> word
>>>> meaning or any self-reflection. But, as Rod points out, both are
>>>> inextricably bound up with the "activity" of using verbal meanings upon
>>>> yourself."
>>>> The last sentence,
>>>> "both are inextricably bound up with the activity of USING verbal
>> meaning
>>>> upon yourself."
>>>> seems to be a central point.
>>>> As I understand Wittgenstein he is making this exact point. Using
>> verbal
>>>> meanings is "another form" of interaction [distinct from 2nd person
>>>> engagements] that also follow specific rules of engagement.  These 3rd
>>>> person narrative genres are culturally and historically situated and
>>> appeal
>>>> to our current notions of "common" sense. The "contents" used to
>> compose
>>>> these 3rd person narrative accounts that we learn to "tell ourselves"
>> use
>>>> 2nd person lived experiences as basic phenomena to be explained.
>>>> However, we come to confuse the 2nd person and 3rd person forms of life
>>>> which may actually evolve within different rules and patterns of
>>>> engagement. 2nd person and 3rd person perspectives may share a family
>>>> resemblance but not dentity.
>>>> This in no way diminishes 1st person or 3rd person narratives. It is
>>> merely
>>>> an attempt to also draw attention to the basic ways 2nd person lived
>>>> experiences contribute to our compositions of forms of life. [Not unity
>>> but
>>>> composition which implies aggregates] 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person accounts
>>>> may intertwine but not within a systematic pre-determined sequence.
>> Each
>>>> type of account may follow its own path of development and whether 1st,
>>>> 2nd, or 3rd person perspectives are priviledged and legitimated may be
>>>> culturally and historically constituted.
>>>> Very tentative speculations on my part but it does at least introduce
>>> some
>>>> doubt about 2nd person lived experience as possibly continuing to be a
>>>> central form of life throughout the life span.
>>>> Larry
>>>> On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM, monica.hansen <
>>>> monica.hansen@vandals.uidaho.edu> wrote:
>>>>> I like what you write, David, at the end of this post. It is more
>> like a
>>>>> movie because multiple modes of perception and the experience of
>>>>> consciousness of self ARE more like a movie than a book. Images are
>>>>> multimodal, not just visual. They are direct links to our feelings and
>>>>> emotions. Words are just a subset of possible signs for meaning.
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
>> ]
>>> On
>>>>> Behalf Of David Kellogg
>>>>> Sent: Sunday, March 18, 2012 3:40 PM
>>>>> To: Culture ActivityeXtended Mind
>>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Reflective Meanings
>>>>> Larry:
>>>>> Three things I noticed in perusing the article:
>>>>> a) Like you, I noticed that the "you-me" relationship is "one possible
>>>>> perspective" on the development of reflected upon experience.
>>>>> b) But I also noticed, with faint annoyance, that the author seemed to
>>> be
>>>>> be claiming universality, despite clear evidence in her own data (e.g.
>>>>> "Show mommy the potty, Nanny") that her conclusion might be very child
>>>>> specific.
>>>>> c) I noticed, with some relief, a minimum of 'theory of mind"
>>>>> discussion. I guess we are finally getting it through our thick skulls
>>> that
>>>>> a theory of mind is going to develop as long as the mind that
>>>>> contemplates and the mind that is contemplated does so.
>>>>> Let's assume that Reddy is right, and that the "you-me" interaction is
>>> the
>>>>> essential source of all joint intersubjectivity in later life. That
>>> still
>>>>> leaves us an essential problem--and for Brecht, and for Chinese opera,
>>> as
>>>>> well as for my ruminations on murders witnessed but not experienced,
>> it
>>> is
>>>>> the essential problem--of how we get from empathy to objectivity, from
>>> the
>>>>> second to the third person.
>>>>> I think Rod is right. On the one hand, Vygotsky refers to word meaning
>>> as
>>>>> the microcosm of consciousness in the conclusion to "Thinking and
>>> Speech"
>>>>> and on the other he clearly lists "perizhvanie" as the unit of child
>>>>> consciousness in "The Problem of the Environment" (p. 342 of the
>>> Vygotsky
>>>>> Reader).
>>>>> Neither unit is "activity" in the sense used by activity theorists;
>>>>> neither has an outcome in production. Neither inheres in a purely
>>> "you-me"
>>>>> relationship which can be and often is carried out without any use of
>>> word
>>>>> meaning or any self-reflection. But, as Rod points out, both are
>>>>> inextricably bound up with the "activity" of using verbal meanings
>> upon
>>>>> yourself.
>>>>> And that, to me, explains why when we observe some horrific incident
>> and
>>>>> we immediately notice, whether with relief or with guilt, the
>>> unmistakeable
>>>>> fact of our own non-involvement, we often say "It was just like a
>> movie"
>>>>> but we never say "It was just like a book".
>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>>>> --- On Sun, 3/18/12, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> From: Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
>>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Reflective Meanings
>>>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>>>> Date: Sunday, March 18, 2012, 6:23 AM
>>>>> Rod, David, Peter
>>>>> The relationship between perezhivanie and reflecting on  *second hand*
>>>>> experience.  How does this relationship manifest?  What  sequences
>>> unfold
>>>>> in this process.
>>>>> Rod, a year ago you recommended a book by V. Reddy who was exploring
>> the
>>>>> negotiation of feelings as well as understandings within what is
>>> referred
>>>>> to as primary intersubjectivity developing within  2nd person
>>> communicative
>>>>> expressions.
>>>>> I recently came across this 6 page summary of V. Reddy's *2nd person*
>>>>> perspective on lived experience as the basic process from which
>> emerges
>>> the
>>>>> derived 3rd person perspectives which are *borrowing* the processes
>>>>> previously lived through within  2nd person engagements.
>>>>> The article uses charts which clearly distinguish her perspective from
>>>>> more cognitively oriented accounts
>>>>>> From Reddy's perspective, these borrowed 2nd person processes are
>>>>> profoundly transformed within language games [Wittgenstein's term]
>>>>> acquired as culturally informed skilled practices expressing the
>> giving
>>> of
>>>>> reasons.  Reddy posits the skill of offering justifications in the 3rd
>>>>> person as derived from 2nd person *I-YOU* encounters previously lived
>>>>> through. Derived justifications  borrow the content from 2nd person
>>> lived
>>>>> through experiences and use this derived content within the activity
>> of
>>>>> giving reasons.
>>>>> I also noticed she posits two *basic* movements within our emotional
>> 2nd
>>>>> person engagements: *hiding* & *revealing* our selves. As I understand
>>>>> Reddy's position these basic intersubjective orientations continue to
>>> play
>>>>> out  within more complex cultural-historical  informed engagements.
>>>>> Reddy's 2nd person perspective offers one possible approach into the
>>>>> relationship between perhezivanie and activity.
>>>>> Larry
>>>>> On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 4:45 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
>>>>> R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
>>>>>> Many thanks for this, David - a really valuable clarification of  the
>>>>>> relationship between  perezhivanie and activity. I wonder what you
>>>>>> would  have to say about the extent to which your second  type of
>>>>>> reflection is
>>>>>> actually  a culturally mediated process of mediation. In other words,
>>>>>> when we practise the activity of reflecting on a 'second-hand'
>>>>>> experience,  in order to colour it with the  'body and vitality' of
>> our
>>>>>> own spontaneous  concepts, are we 'borrowing' processes which we have
>>>>>> picked up, absorbed or  internalised from our  experiences of
>> engaging
>>>>>> with others (and negotiating  the sharing of feelings as well as
>>>>>> understandings)?  When we reflect in  tranquility on observed second
>>>>>> hand (second body) experiences do we not  have to draw on
>> internalised
>>>>> sociocultural processes to be able to do this?
>>>>>> All the best,
>>>>>> Rod
>>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
>>>>>> Behalf Of David Kellogg [vaughndogblack@yahoo.com]
>>>>>> Sent: 18 March 2012 03:33
>>>>>> To: xmca
>>>>>> Subject: [xmca] Reflective Meanings
>>>>>> We have been worrying about how to correctly render the word
>>>>> "переживаний"
>>>>>> in Korean, and above all how to link it to "activity" (because it is
>>>>>> clear to me that Vygotsky saw the one as a reflection upon the
>> other).
>>>>>> At the same time, I have been following the news from Syria, where I
>>>>>> witnessed, in the early nineteen eighties, a similar bloody uprising
>>>>>> against the current leader's father.
>>>>>> It has been estimated that by the time a child is twelve or thirteen
>>>>>> years old the child has witnessed, on television, several hundred,
>>>>>> possibly many thousands, of simulated murders. We didn't have a
>>>>>> television when I was a kid, but when I first witnessed real murders
>>>>>> as a twenty-year-old I remember thinking that it was "like a movie".
>>>>>> Of course, when you say that, what it means is that you are
>> undergoing
>>>>>> the visual experience of observing something but that the acutal
>>>>>> переживаний, the lived experience or the feeling of what is happening
>>>>>> to you, is somehow missing. It means almost the same thing as when
>> you
>>>>>> say that something is a dream (I still dream a lot about Syria, and
>>>>>> sometimes I dream things that are very disturbing, but I know that
>> the
>>>>>> dreams feel very different from the way the reality felt).
>>>>>> Here, it seems to me, we have an almost complete contrast of the two
>>>>>> meanings of reflection. For on the one hand, the scene that you see
>>>>>> before your eyes is a clear reflection; when you say that you feel
>>>>>> like a particularly gruesome or traumatic scene is like a movie or
>>>>>> like a dream, you do not in any way have the sense of watching a
>> movie
>>>>>> or dreaming. What you mean is that you are seeing the sights but not
>>>>>> feeling the feelings of what happens to you; you are lacking the
>>>>> переживаний.
>>>>>> And it seems to me that there are two ways to interpret that lack
>> that
>>>>>> corresond to the two meanings of the word "reflection". One is to say
>>>>>> that you are not feeling and thinking the experience because you are
>>>>>> too busy directly experiencing it, reflecting it like a mirror or a
>> TV
>>>>>> screen or a flickering image on the back of your dreaming eyelids.
>>>>>> But the other is that you are not participating in the experience,
>> and
>>>>>> that your first reaction is that you yourself are neither the
>> murderer
>>>>>> nor the murdered one. In other words, it is an experience, but it is
>>>>>> not an activity. And an experience that is not an activity is not a
>>>>>> lived
>>>>>> experience: it is like a movie or like a dream.
>>>>>> It's that SECOND meaning of reflection, which I am almost sure really
>>>>>> is a type of activity, even though it involves no actions and only
>>>>>> indirectly involves verbal meanings, that converts an experience
>> which
>>>>>> is not an activity, into переживаний, or what Wordsworth would call
>>>>>> emotion reflected upon in tranquility.
>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>>>>> __________________________________________
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