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[Xmca-l] Re: Systems views [leontievactivity]

You are exploring structures and systems and whether the concept of
*system* develops in a *general* way or does it appear [making or
finding!?] immanantly within particular practices.

I will share a perspective from John Shotter who is attempting to make an
ontological case for *conversational joint activities. He critiques
*systems* thinking as a form of *scientific* thinking and he links it to a
particular form of social practices that could exist only within literate
He is not making a case for *literacy* in general but literacy as used
within scientific communities. Here is a summary of his position, [coming
from a bias of conversational realities as the background within which
scientific and *systems* ways of *knowing* develop.
Shotter's account takes place as a response or answer to Bhaskar's
*realist* perspective on scientific knowledge. Shotter says Bhaskar [and
realists in general] neglect the TEXTUAL nature of the productive and
reproductive process in science. Bhaskar says the most important practice
supporting a science is its *methodology*: the assumption that proper,
scientific knowledge is ONLY acquired as a result of systematic thought and
orderly investigation. Shotter says that this *methodology* only has sense,
and only MAKES sense, within a context of other activities and practices.
Central among these other practices is the production of WRITTEN TEXTS. All
professionally conducted science moves from text to text, usually beginning
with the reading of already written text and ending in the writing of
further texts. Within the many forms of linguistic communication written
text has a special place. Texts can be used by readers [with the
appropriate prior showing training] to construct a meaning by reference to
linguistic resources which the reader possesses within themselves. The
reader [as writer] carefully composes an interwoven sequence of written
sentences, structured within ITSELF [to a much larger degree than
conversational compositions] by essentially intralinguistic or syntactical
relations. Thus to a critical degree scientific text is a relatively
de-contextualized FORM of communication. Shotter says, to the extent that a
*scientific* theory is always something written and published and making
claims that things are not what they ordinarily seem to be, but are IN
REALITY something else, the theory is not intelligible in the same way as
terms are intelligible in ordinary conversational language.
If we want to be taken seriously in our scientific claims we need to be
INSTRUCTED in HOW [knowing-how] to *see* various social phenomena AS having
a certain psychological character. Shotter gives examples to be able to
*see* social phenomena AS  social structure, or AS social classes. Other
examples is to see social phenomena AS social representations, AS rules.
Being instructed in HOW to read scientific texts INSTRUCTS us in how TO SEE
social life AS consisting in structures and systems.

What Shotter wants to add to this understanding is that science is also
conducted within a context of argumentation. Shotter says Bhaskar's realist
account lacks a certain *reflexiveness* and is biased toward propositions
and statements rather than metaphors.

Christine, not sure if my *turn* was a *swerve off course* but Shotter
holds up *systems* as an object and gives us another perspective on this
object of discussion.


On Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 6:36 AM, Christine Schweighart <
schweighartc@gmail.com> wrote:

> Jack,
> Perhaps  a way of distinguishing significant aspects coherently across
> various sciences would be helpful.
> There is research in
> http://www.journals.elsevier.com/psychoneuroendocrinology/
> cortisol and memory work
> http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03064530/36/3
> cortisol and stress kind of work done in variable separating lab work; *
> but not reaching to  'values'as a bridge to be able to work in the
> 'everyday' context in fieldwork.......
> http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306453013002667
> developmental influence on structural capacities.
> http://www.psyneuen-journal.com/article/S0306-4530(12)00303-4/abstract
> Anyone with useful reading suggestions please send an email.
> Christine