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[Xmca-l] Re: mediate perception and direct perception

My impression, Greg and David Ki, is that in the CHAT tradition specifically, as opposed to the English language in general, mediation refers to *artefact-mediation*. Of course, every action is both mediated and immediate, and in many discursive contexts, "mediation" is a concept which may be evoked quite legitimately, but with no special significant for the use of CHAT. In social theory, for example, mediation of activities by other activities or institutions is as ubiquitous as mediation of actions by artefacts is in the domain of psychology. But if the topic is psychology, I think artefact-mediation is so central, that I prefer to spell it out and use the term "artefact-mediated" rather than the vague term "mediated".

I have come across usages like "mediated by such-and-such a concept." Like Alice in Wonderland one can use words to mean what you like, but I find a formulation like this in the context of CHAT problematic, because it is using the idea of "mediation" in the most general sense in a way which obscures the fact that a concept is not immediately present in any act of communication or any other act, and therefore *cannot mediate actions*. Artefacts, such as spoken words, which may be signs for a concept, can of course mediate an act of communication. But the point is that a word is not universally and unproblematically a sign for any one concept. It means different things to different people. Concepts are not artefacts. Artefacts are universal in their materiality, but particular in their meaning. So when we have a concept in mind when we use a word in communication, the communication is mediated by the word not the concept, and it is a mistake not to be aware of that.

So I would prefer it if "mediation" were always used in qualified way so that its specific meaning is made clear.

PS. And David Ki is completely right in his comment, too.
*Andy Blunden*

Greg Thompson wrote:
Does "mediation" only apply to language and culture?

Or does it include nerve fibers? (in which case we would need to include

And does it include our socio-contextual surround as in Bateson's man with
the stick? (in which case, we would need to include newborns).

Just wonderin'.


On Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 2:48 PM, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:

Thanks for replies.
I'm recalling several years ago Jim Greeno decided to stop talking about
situated cognition because the pragmatics of adjectival use implies there
has to be a contrasting non-situated cognition. He now speaks of
situativity theory. It seems, with the exception of physical reflexes (and
perhaps pre-conscious infant activity), all human action is mediated (and
perhaps a lot of non-human action, as well). So, it's worth noting that
"mediated action" doesn't specify a kind of action, but rather a
theoretical assumption about all human action; though there seems to be
some variation in interpretation of what that assumption entails.