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[Xmca-l] Re: Polysemy of "Community"

We are at a point of real technicalities now, Cliff. But anyway ...

You say that we can "only assume" the independent existence of a material world "through our activity." I think "only assume" is a tad understated, though I don't want to rehearse the arguments against subjective idealism here. It is certainly true that what we know about it we know only thanks to and through our activity. Vygotsky was most certainly of the view that the material world existed independently of our activity through which it is endowed with meaning. ("Historical Meaning etc ...." s. 13)

My point is that we cannot restrict ourselves to Activity, to the extent that we marginalise the significance of the objective existence of the artefacts mediating the actions making up activity or the actions themselves. The material conditions of life (including the human body) are an essential, irreducible part of human life. And that requires not just a nod, but real attention.

But let's move on. Cliff, the meaning you attach to "*intersubjectivity*" is not one I have come across in CHAT. For CHAT writers, "intersubjectivity" simply refers to the sum total of interactions between individuals, not any particular state or attributes of that process. What does it mean for you?


Cliff O'Donnell wrote:
That's an alternative way to go, Cliff, define "community" by "shared meanings," but the upshot of that way is the counter-intuitive conclusion that kids and their parents belong to different "cultural communities."

Many do. And many kids (teens) and their parents, but far from all, would not find that counter-intuitive given their experience.

There is one point which I must clarify though from your last words below: "The material form of an artifact may be universal in the sense that we may all agree on the label for it. However, the artifact may have very different meanings for us." No. The artefacts have a universal material form despite us having "different labels" for it. The foundation of natural science is that matter exist independently of human activity, obedient to natural laws which are knowable. And natural science has a right to exist; it is not a giant mistake.

Sure, although we can only assume that through our human activity (including the means that leads to natural laws).

We *do* of course ascribe different meanings to one and the same material form or object, but that is thanks to human activity.

Exactly. And isn't human activity what is of most importance to us? (Including the human activity that may affect the natural world).

The matter exists independently of our interpretation of it. This is why I know I can rely on artefacts to provide a sound, universal foundation for "community," and I leave it entirely open that a multiplicity of meanings and actions are in conflict within the community.

But your "sound, universal foundation" is built on the meanings you have for those artifacts.