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[Xmca-l] Re: CHAT Discourse



So many message overnight in response to David's initial message.
Retrograde that I am proving to be, I will go back to his message and try
to respond from that starting point. In this message I will take up only
his first paragraph. Later, life permitting, I will take up the second.

David 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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hopefully useful comments.

1a. For many scholars who take Vygotsky as a starting point, it is still a
huge task to get agreement on what LSV wrote, the order in which he wrote
it, and what he meant.

1b. Equally, there is great uncertainty between the continuity and even the
compatibility of the ideas of LSV and Alexei Leontiev (ANL). (the acronym,
chat, indicates a willingness to consider mediation AND activity, mediated
by language AND (strictly speaking) non-linguistic action, as part of a
signal paradigm-- despite fulsome evidence of discontinuities and in some
places incompatibilities in LSV and ANL's writings).

These two statements are true both in the English and Russian speaking
communities concerned with this domain of inquiry. I think that together,
they help to explain why there is so much discussion about what appear to
be theoretical/philosophical issues.

2a. The uncertainties in number 1 above lead to uncertainty on my part
about what you mean by "efforts to elaborate Vygotsky's psychology more
fully," from "efforts to solve the problems Vygotsky was addressing, de
novo."

-Which problems was LSV trying to solve de novo?
-Does "elaborate more fully" mean to work with LSV's ideas as one
understands them, find places where they seem inadequate, and offer
modified forumulations, accompanied by empirical data, to arrive at a more
adequate theoretical framework that is seen (rightly or wrongly) as a
development of the theory? I think this path is one that I have chosen.

3. Finally, in all of the writings about CHAT that come to mind as I sit
here typing, it is emphasized that it is an interdisciplinary undertaking,
reducible neither to psychology or philosophy. This stance has its problems
that always bear consideration.

I see you have already responded while I have been typing, David, so I will
stop here.

mike






On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 8:31 AM, Lisa Yamagata-Lynch <lisayl@utk.edu> wrote:

> I agree, I have an American Psychological background from Japan, and moved
> away from it once I crossed to America after college. I have been away from
> it for so long that it is perhaps not my place to think this, but in my
> observation American Psychology has predominantly become a field about
> procedures and moved away from philosophical concepts that I thought it
> originally branched out form.
>
> 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 11:22 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>
> > Well, Lisa, I think that is a project which requires a lot of what David
> > would call "philosophical" discussion. :)
> > The Psychology of Concepts, as it is know to American psychology, i.e.,
> > the "mainstream" do endless laboratory tests and questionnaires and
> surveys
> > and so far as I can see have still haven't figured out what a concept is.
> > Andy
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >
> >
> > Lisa Yamagata-Lynch wrote:
> >
> >> 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
> >> <mailto: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/
> >>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> >>
> >>
> >>     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 <tel:865-974-7712>
> >>
> >>         On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 10:56 AM, David H Kirshner
> >>         <dkirsh@lsu.edu <mailto:dkirsh@lsu.edu> <mailto: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>
> >>             <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/>
> >>             <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>>
> >>             > [mailto: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/>
> >>             <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>>
> >>             >> <mailto: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/>
> >>             >>     <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>>>
> >>             <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
> >>         <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/>
> >>             >>             <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>>>
> >>             >>         <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 <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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