I think that there many things in our world and in our philosophy are linked but distinct. For that very reason, though, I don't think that they are linked in the same way or distinct in the same way.
I think that communication and cognition are related genetically. Because of this genetic relationship, there is a functional one at some point in development (gesture, egocentric speech, reading aloud, counting on your fingers). But because of their development, at some point there some structural links must die out. In the replacing of gesture with intonation and stress, in the replacement of egocentric speech with silent thinking, in the replacement of reading aloud with reading to yourself, and in the replacement of counting on our fingers with counting with words and eventually with mental calculation, the aspects of communication which are necessary for other-communication are replaced with structural features that enhance self-communication.
Now, to me the things you are talking about (subjective/objective, presence/absence, and mediated/immediating) are logical relationships. That is, they are philosophical models of real phenomena, and as such they tend to be structural descriptions and not genetic or functional. Yes, I do think that communication and cognition are siblings in a way that subjective and objective, presence and absence, and even mediated and immediating are not.
Here's how I see it. Zebras and donkeys are both animals. But that doesn't imply that a zebra is a kind of donkey or that a donkey is a kind of zebra, or even that zebras and donkeys are two poles of a single construct, and that some donkeys are zebra-like and some zebras are donkey-oids. It seems to me that what we have to say is that zebras and donkeys are two variants of some third thing--something Vygotsky would call a "third step" or "neoformation" or maybe just a "thing", because Vygotsky believed that the word would be ready when the concept is, and not until then.
I think that tools and signs are both mediating activities. But that doesn't imply to me that a tool is a kind of sign or that a sign is a kind of tool, or that things can be more toolish and less sign-y. What Vygotsky says is that tools and signs are two distinct variants of a third thing. And he notes that calling it "mediating activity" does not give a genetic relationship, but only a logical one. It's like saying that donkeys and zebras are both animals. It doesn't tell you which is the chlid and which is the parent.
One of my graduate students just came back from Shanghai where she was working with the Disney Company on their new "Disney English" programme. It's a programme which, like many English teaching programmes, is basically an idea built around a tool and not a sign, in this case an 'interactive white board" which children can use to "throw" Disney characters up on the screen. She is full of enthusiasm for the enthusiasm that children that children have when they do this (she was there for two weeks). But when I looked at the data she brought back, my heart sank--the "mediating activities" are really passivities; the "interactive white board" just relegates the kids to tool use and reserves making and using signs for the folks at Disney.
Ms. Han was very puzzled and even a little hurt at my cool response in class last night. I had always emphasized that gesture was tool and sign together, and that we know this because gesture has an inner relationship with stress and intonation. Now I was arguing that tool functions and sign functions can and should be separated in the course of development.
So we looked at the board marker I had in my hand. The tip is a tool, not a sign. But on the side of the board marker, it says "MonAmi BOARD Marker" in English and then in Korean. These are signs, not tools. You can't write with the label and you can't read the tip. The two functions are completely distinct, and they remain functionally distinct even when they are structurally integrated, just like the interactive white board and the Disney characters. When Disney says "interactive white board" they are being perfectly honest. The child can interact with the white board. But the child cannot interact with the sign, which appears to the child as a second person but is in reality not even a third.
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
--------- 원본 메일 ---------
__________________________________________ _____ xmca mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca