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[Xmca-l] Re: An Abstract Question

Apparentlt today is Vygotsky's birthday, so it might be an occasion to remember his words:

   "The structures of higher mental functions represent a cast of
   social relations between people. These structures are nothing other
   than a transfer into the personality of a inward relation of a
   social order that constitutes the basis of the social structure of
   the human personality." (LSVCW, v. 5, p. 169-70)

*Andy Blunden*

valerie A. Wilkinson wrote:
Thank you, Andy. Individually we have a conceptual tool-box for sorting and
then there is the institutional level and the national and the transnational
or global "tool box".  At the individual level, my tool could be a Swiss
Army Knife, but an international standard would look different and have
various professional teams working out the precedents or applications in the
present day.  So individually we have to keep working on it and keep in
touch with those who are working on it. Sort of.  Thank you very much for
the guided tour! Valerie

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2013 7:53 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: An Abstract Question

I do recognise my own words in there Valerie, including the typo. :)

I don't think it matters whether you call it classification, mapping,
sorting or indexing, once you have recognised the object, if all that is at
issue is which pigeonhole, class or map you put it into or point to, it's
all the same.

The fact that I can recognise the statue of the Virgin Mary outside the
local Catholic Church as "the Virgin Mary" does not at all mean that I have
the concept of "the virgin mary". The fact that when Barak Obama comes on
tele I recognise him as President, does not mean I have the concept of
president either. I might think that Joe Bloggs is a criminal, but the only
characteristic of Joe that I could name to unambiguously justify my
allegation is "criminality," so that would hardly clarify anything. (That's
why police are not supposed to do "racial profiling".)

The process of provisionally recognising something, and knowing "which box
to put it in," is quite a different thing from constructing the boxes in the
first place, and it is that latter process which, in my view, is the
important one. That's one of the reasons that legislative bodies in every
country in the world spend every day amending legislation, and have been
doing that for centuries, not really because the community has changed its
mind about something, but because bureaucratic procedures continually
confound themselves with the task of putting people, situations and events
in the right box, and the rules have to be continuously rewritten.

*Andy Blunden*

valerie A. Wilkinson wrote:
Dear XMCA colleagues,

Something like a year ago, we were having an interesting discussion which was quite a bit over my head. I apologize for clipping in the following bit without saying who said it, but perhaps my esteemed colleague recognizes his own words?:

My note to myself says [a grain of sand in the oyster is the assertion by Scholar A that there are only two candidates for the "Ur-Act", the basic, elementary act of human intellectual life. He says, "I know of only two answers to this question, relevant to concepts. The abstract answer given by mediaeval logic, Linnaeus, the psychology of concepts, all sorts of present-day continental philosophy is: pigeon-holing, The concrete answer given by Hegel, Vygotsky, Activity Theory, Thomas
Kuhn, and me is:
problem-solving."] I couldn't work out what "pigeon-holing" is, so I didn't ask.

Would it be a possible interpretation of these two answers to call them:

Classification and Mapping?

Or "sorting" and "trouble shooting"?

"Indexing" and "pathfinding".

I hate to display my woeful ignorance and I should have asked at the time, but I am unable to classify Kant, of whom I have only read bits, Merleau Ponty of whom I read Phenomelogy of Perception, on the continental side, and Peirce and Dewey of whom I have read a bit more on the other (obviously it is not about this or that side of the Atlantic, but.). Graduate school reading during one's pre-service education in philosophy and criticism, even if it is for a doctorate in comparative literature, leaves one "out there in the field" using what one learned at school to continue the study of the problems that life presents. Is "either/or" and preference a possible elementary act. Can sorting be done either mathematically (symbolic logic) or analogically (language), raising the digital vs. analog question? I wouldn't have dared ask this question last year, but the most recent conversations, about play and educational environment and praxis have brought out tons of extremely deep and learned discussion which I am trying to "grok". Existence or process. Difference. Indeterminacy and
incompleteness. Abstract and applied.