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RE: [xmca] Operations

Hi Andy,

I think it is perhaps a jump to say that knowledge of the world, or knowing, comes from a mental image. To act with purpose we first must think about what we want to do or where we want to go, and then do it.  It seems to me this places the individual as the point of origination for activity.  I think, at this point, I would say two things about this.  The first is that we can never know what images exist in the individual "mind" to begin with.  This is especially true of the infant, the child without speech.  So to conjecture about the infant's individual mind one way or the other seems a difficult proposition.  But perhaps more important, do you want to place knowing in the action that a human takes, or place it in the mind as a "motivation" for action (I think, therefore I am?).  The knowing is in the act, and in the act's relationship to response.  I always thought the strongest part of Piaget's ideas was his notion of sensori-motor.  The movements of infants, or even neonates, are driven by the pleasure it affords them.  The body, the senses recognize the pleasure and reach out for me, and more pleasure is given in response.  It is the start of our life long "project" or projection.  Maybe it is not pleasure, but it is something, and it is something the children is reaching out for, and an image of what it is is not really needed, it seems to me, to establish an aim, the knowing is in our senses.  

From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Andy Blunden [ablunden@mira.net]
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 9:28 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] Operations

Michael, here is what Manfred said in his message:

    "A young infant has not already established a goal-driven level of
    actions. In the first weeks one can observe the acquisition of first
    operations and of first expectations what should happen. But these
    expectations are not yet represented as a mental image about the
    desired future states. This is the product of the acquisition of a
    sign system which enables the person to evoke and  imagine a future
    state in the here and now and to start to strive for it. And for
    this starting point, not only to imagine different future states,
    but also to select one of them and to start to strive for it,
    emotional processes come into play that color one of the imagined
    future state e.g. in a state worth striving for and that mobilize
    the executive power to start striving for it. However, the ability
    to form such notions of goals and to transform them into actions is
    not something that occurs automatically. It emerges in a long-drawn
    ontogenetic learning process in which the attainment of goals
    through actions is tried, tested, and increasingly optimized."

I make no claim to be a psychologist, Michael, but it always seemed to
me that ascribing a knowledge of the world to neonates would be a hard
position to sustain. We have to find some other way of understanding the
behaviour of neonates and infants other than presuming that they form a
goal and then take appropriate premeditated action to realise that goal.

An "operation" is a form of behaviour which has the potential to be
transformed into an action, that is, for the subject to become
consciously aware of the behaviour and subject it to conscious control.
So at first I think we have to say that the neonate smiles, moves its
hands around, pouts, squeezes, etc, etc., without first forming the idea
"I think I will smile at this woman, and she might give me some more
food" or any such thing. But after the relevant stimuli have been
repeatedly accompanied by the various kinds of responses which adult
carers provide to the child and the successful satisfaction of the
stimuli, the child might begin to associate the behaviour with an
object, accomodate its behaviour to the social world around them, and
what began as an operation may be transformed into an action. Otherwise,
I think we are imply a hell of a lot about innate knowledge!


Glassman, Michael wrote:
> .... But I also I think disagree with Andy to some extent.  Do infants simply engage in operations?  Is that possible? Isn't there an action tied to every operation, or else why is the infant doing it.  I think infants definitely do react to stimuli (feedback I think can be define through information processing but it can also perhaps be defined through social cognitive theory which is more behavior oriented).  But when they react don't they have an aim of some type?  It might be very rudimentary but it is an aim and the child is developing operations to meet those aims (it also seems to me that there are much fuzzier boundaries between operations and actions at this point).

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