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[Xmca-l] Re: CHAT Discourse



Why is it that we came to what David stated as:

Generally, we CHATters do not "collaborate and argue over facts." We are
engaged in making endless theoretical elaborations, distinctions, and
qualifications almost completely detached from empirical specifics.



Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, Associate Professor           Educational Psychology
and Counseling
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On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 10:56 AM, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:

> Andy,
>
> I don't think it's at all clear that CHAT is a scientific project, though
> it might initially have been conceived as such.
> Generally, we CHATters do not "collaborate and argue over facts." We are
> engaged in making endless theoretical elaborations, distinctions, and
> qualifications almost completely detached from empirical specifics. And as
> your note has revealed, even at the level of theory, we're not all playing
> the same game.
>
> I agree with you that simply creating an obligation that claims be framed
> empirically does not imply we will "agree on the significance of that
> claim." But perhaps in an empirical setting theoretical issues surface as
> methodological issues. In this case, there is a possibility that
> disagreements lead to separation of research enterprises, with (greater)
> theoretical agreement as a consequence.
>
> David
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Andy Blunden [mailto:ablunden@mira.net]
> Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 9:24 AM
> To: David H Kirshner
> Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: CHAT Discourse
>
> David,
> CHAT is a scientific project. Insofar as it is science it must strive to
> produce empirically verifiable claims which are meaningful irrespective of
> the conceptual frame into which they are accepted. But as a project it is
> characterised by a system of concepts. People can agree on this or that
> hard experimental finding, but still not agree on the significance of that
> claim. We CHATters talk to one another, collaborate and argue over facts;
> all of this is possible only to the extent that we share concepts.
> "Facts" are the lingua franca of science. As worthy a goal as it is to lay
> out some agreed facts, I think it is ill-conceived to think that this is a
> means of consolidating a current of research like CHAT. You can call it
> philosophical or psychological, I don't think that makes any difference.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>
>
> David H Kirshner wrote:
> > Following on Andy's discussion of artefact mediation, it seems
> inherently a problem of CHAT discourse to distinguishing efforts to
> elaborate Vygotsky's psychology more fully, from efforts to solve the
> problems Vygotsky was addressing, de novo. In tandem, is ambiguity as to
> whether CHAT is a psychological or philosophical discourse.
> >
> > I wonder, in the spirit of psychology, if advancement of CHAT would not
> be better served by embedding theoretical discussion in analysis of
> empirical data. The point, here, would not be to make CHAT more directly
> relevant to domains of application (though that would not be a bad thing).
> Rather, an empirical obligation might transmute (some) questions of theory
> into questions of methodology. In that way, CHAT could become
> differentiated into distinct psychological schools, each constrained by
> methodological strictures that also support a more homogeneous theoretical
> environment. At the same time, a wide-open CHAT community could look across
> these various schools to pursue broader philosophical problematics.
> >
> > David
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> > Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 7:02 AM
> > To: Huw Lloyd
> > Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: mediate perception and direct perception
> >
> > 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
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > --
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >
> >
> > 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.
> >>
> >> Best,
> >> Huw
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On 15 September 2014 04:26, Andy Blunden <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 really
> >>     don't think obfuscation is ever helpful, generally being used to
> >>     obscure the genesis of phenomena. Distinction is not equal to
> >>     separation.
> >>     I really don't know what you are referring to with product and
> >>     history. Perhaps you could explain?
> >>     Andy
> >>
>  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >>     *Andy Blunden*
> >>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> >>
> >>
> >>     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 separate
> >>         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.
> >>
> >>         Best,
> >>         Huw
> >>
> >>         On 14 September 2014 07:02, Andy Blunden <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
> >>         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.
> >>
> >>             Andy
> >>             PS. And David Ki is completely right in his comment, too.
> >>
> >>
>  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >>             *Andy Blunden*
> >>             http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >>         <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> >>             <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>             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
> >>                 reflexes)
> >>
> >>                 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'.
> >>
> >>                 -greg
> >>
> >>
> >>                 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>>> 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.
> >>                     David
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
>
>
>
>