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RE: [xmca] in-between


You recently sent around a Call for Papers to a conference on second language learning and sociocultural theory, with some truly mouthwatering offerings. But it also contained the puzzling concept note that "mind is mediated". 

What could that possible mean, that mind is mediated? Does it mean that the mind is formed through mediation? We can't really say that, since mediation doesn't exist until there is mind on the one hand and non-mind on the other. 

Or does it mean that the mind is a mediating layer between things of the world and the brain/body? That doesn't seem right either; it's dualistic, and it says that not only communication but even perception is a kind of telementation. 

Of course, the problem is really one of naming things: mediation is not equal to itself, and what is mediation at the end of the process is not the same as mediation at the beginning. But if we accept that the concept of mediation has algebraic content, then we also have to accept that a formula like "mediated mind" explains absolutely nothing.

I worry that concepts like mediation, or intermediation, or communication are essentially Gestalts--that is, undifferentiated wholes that contain both Jewish psychologists and Nazis. I think that's why I prefer Anna Sfard's formulation: the in-between is not communication, but commognition, and commognition is, at the beginning of the process, communignition (firstly communication) and at the end of the process cognimunication (foremostly cognition)

David Kellogg

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

--------- 원본 메일 ---------
보낸사람: Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
받는사람 : "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
날짜: 2012년 9월 01일 토요일, 01시 02분 22초 +0900
제목: [xmca] in-between
In a prior conversation that Martin and I were having regarding language
ideology, I was arguing that the trouble with dominant language ideologies
(including Saussure, Chomsky, Derrida, Searle, and perhaps Austin) is that
they split the world in two. Here is Bruno Latour's characterization of
this problem:

"If you turn round suddenly, as in the children’s game ‘Mother, may I?’,
[the moderns]
will freeze, looking innocent, as if they hadn’t budged: here, on the left,
are things
themselves; there, on the right, is the free society of speaking, thinking
subjects, values
and signs. Everything happens in the middle, everything passes between the
everything happens by way of mediation, translation and networks, but this
space does
not exist, it has no place. It is the unthinkable, the unconscious of the
moderns." (Latour,

I'd add that it points to the importance of the unthinkable "between" - and
I take "communication" to be the great between.


Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
833 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Department of Anthropology
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
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