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

Were you able to read Larry's rather long email on Merleau-Ponty? esp. his
criticism of the "sensation fallacy"?
I ask b.c. it seems to resonate well with your ideas about sensation having
no meaning if it isn't mediated. Do you see connections?
I'm partly wondering b.c. I have heard others mention connections between
M-P and Vygotsky before but have never been able to see those connections

On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 7:34 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

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

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602