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[Xmca-l] Re: CHAT Discourse

I guess because xmca is a discussion list, Lisa, and we all have our specific research interests.
But when we publish, most of us have something to report.
I have to plead guilty, I suppose, to spending more of my share of time arguing about concepts though. It is my special interest.
*Andy Blunden*

Lisa Yamagata-Lynch wrote:
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 http://www.lisayamagatalynch.net/ A532 Bailey Education Complex IT Online Program Coordinator University of Tennessee http://itonline.utk.edu/ Knoxville, TN 37996 https://www.facebook.com/utkitonline Phone: 865-974-7712

On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 10:56 AM, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu <mailto:dkirsh@lsu.edu>> wrote:


    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


    -----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

    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 Blunden*

    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
    > 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
    > David
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
    > [mailto: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 <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
    >>     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>>
    <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
    >>         <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>>>
    >>             My impression, Greg and David Ki, is that in the CHAT
    >>         tradition
    >>             specifically, as opposed to the English language in
    >>             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
    >>         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
    >>                 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>>
    >>         <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
    >>         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
    >>         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