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

Carol Macdonald wrote:
Hi Andy,

This seems to be an all inclusive scheme which ties us down, but at the same time purports to account for "everything". But are there really only universal artefacts? There must be at least the possibility of
 - misunderstanding (all though of course you (Andy) can do this;
 - as yet potential understanding
 - a total lack of understanding.
That's the whole point, Carol! a given material artefact has a certain *material* form which is universal, but it is subject to interpretation, that is, meaning is ascribed to it by a person, and different people at different times will ascribe different meanings to it. But the meaning of the word "material" is what is outside of consciousness and independent of activity. The independent existence of the material world is what makes science possible.

And there is still the need to account for unmediated sensation - so if we are hungry, we need to eat; but the eating is mediated. We need to take in fluid, but everything apart from water also seems to be mediated. (And of course we serve water in culturally mediated ways.) I am sure I have too simplistic a view which misunderstands your schema Andy, but I am trying to keep open Shotter's concerns.
By "unmediated sensation" I presume you mean that aspect of a sensation which is unmediated. All sensations are both immediate and mediated. This is what I take to be the core meaning of "dual-stimulation." Were you to be subject to an unmediated sensation (maybe soon after you were born) then it would have no meaning for you and would therefore be no sensation at all. But if it has a meaning, that is because of the mediation of the sensation by aspects of your consciousness.

Here of course the mediation being talked of is not artefact-mediation. :)



On 15 September 2014 14:02, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Ah! I see!
    As Hegel said: "There is nothing, nothing in heaven, or in nature
    or in mind or anywhere else which does not equally contain both
    immediacy and mediation." I have no great problem with anyone
    saying that anything is mediated by anything else, where it is
    appropriate. My problem is that the specific insight of Vygotsky,
    that artefact-mediation of actions provides an especially
    productive unit of analysis for science is lost if mediation in
    the broad sense is mixed up in CHAT literature with
    artefact-mediation to the point that artefact-mediation is lost.
    Still, I would prefer that if you were to make the point you were
    referring to you used some expression other than "mediation."

    Artefact mediation of actions is a brilliant insight. I can do
    what I like, but to do anything (other than have dreams or
    thoughts) I have to use some material object to transmit my
    actions, so to speak - a tool, a word, a gesture, or whatever -
    but all these artefacts which I use, without exception, are
    products of the history and culture into which I was born. I can
    choose which artefact to use, but culture and history produce
    them. So every action I take is essentially cultural-historical as
    well as personal. Also, because artefacts are material objects,
    their physical form is the same for everyone, it is universal. So
    communication as much as miscommunication takes place through
    everyone interpreting the same material objects, artefacts, that I
    am using in my actions. How can they do that? Because they too
    mediate their actions with the same set of universal artefacts! So
    all human action is opened to cultural and historical analysis
    which is as objective as any branch of natural science. Wonderful, eh?

    *Andy Blunden*

    Huw Lloyd wrote:

        If you want to study how action changes then you need to study
        the history and production of the action.  Under such
        circumstances, assertions that concepts cannot mediate (the
        production of) actions become more obviously false.  If one
        has simplified, through "clarity", the action away from its
        genetic base then it may seem correct to assert that a concept
        cannot mediate an action.

        The conservation tasks (e.g. conservation of volume) are an
        elegant way to demonstrate this.


        On 15 September 2014 04:26, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:

            he, he, Huw!
            For me, reduction, simplification and typology are the very
            problems that need to be remedied by clarification! and I
            don't think obfuscation is ever helpful, generally being
        used to
            obscure the genesis of phenomena. Distinction is not equal to
            I really don't know what you are referring to with product and
            history. Perhaps you could explain?
            *Andy Blunden*

            Huw Lloyd wrote:

                I agree about precision, but not with a call for
        "clarity".         Reduction to clarity is a projection or
        reification of the
                need for simplicity.  Simplicity usually entails
        typologies or
                other simplistic devices which prevent the conception and
                perception of genetic relations.  Actually in cases
        such as
                these we are interested in (clarifying) the entanglements
                between artefacts and mind.  I think It would be equally
                appropriate and meaning-prompting to state that one
        needs to
                obfuscate (see darkly) too.

                I think it is this "need for simplification" which
        leads me to
                disagree with the 2nd paragraph.  For example, why
                the act from its production and history?         Of
        course, if one had the discipline to de-couple clarity from
                modes of simplicity, then we wouldn't have the problem.


                On 14 September 2014 07:02, Andy Blunden
        <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
                <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>

        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>>> wrote:

                    My impression, Greg and David Ki, is that in the CHAT
                    specifically, as opposed to the English language
        in general,
                    mediation refers to *artefact-mediation*. Of
        course, every
                    is both mediated and immediate, and in many discursive
                    "mediation" is a concept which may be evoked quite
                    but with no special significant for the use of
        CHAT. In social
                    theory, for example, mediation of activities by other
                    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*.
                    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
                    are not artefacts. Artefacts are universal in their
                    but particular in their meaning. So when we have a
                in mind
                    when we use a word in communication, the
        communication is
                    by the word not the concept, and it is a mistake
        not to be
                    of that.

                    So I would prefer it if "mediation" were always
        used in
                    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

                        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

                        Just wonderin'.


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

                                             Thanks for replies.
                            I'm recalling several years ago Jim Greeno
                to stop
                            talking about
                            situated cognition because the pragmatics of
                            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
                            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

Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
Developmental psycholinguist
Academic, Researcher, and Editor Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa