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[Xmca-l] Re: CHAT Discourse



Well I am guilty for being fixated about thinking and talking about methods
and how to better understand how we can make a trustworthy leap from
understanding the world to understanding concepts. Again just talking aloud.

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 11:11 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> 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
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>
>
> 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:
>>
>>     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
>>     <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/
>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>
>>
>>     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>
>>     > [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/
>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>     >
>>     >
>>     > 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 <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/>
>>     >>     <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>>>>
>>
>>     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/>
>>     >>             <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>>
>>     >>         <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
>>     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
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >>
>>     >
>>     >
>>
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