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)
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
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