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

What I was saying about sensation comes form Hegel, Greg, continuing Paul's comment about Kant.
*Andy Blunden*

Greg Thompson wrote:
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 before...

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

        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. :)



        On 15 September 2014 14:02, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:

            Ah! I see!
            As Hegel said: "There is nothing, nothing in heaven, or in
            or in mind or anywhere else which does not equally contain
            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
            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
            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
            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 Blunden*

            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
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
                cannot mediate an action.

                The conservation tasks (e.g. conservation of volume)
        are an
                elegant way to demonstrate this.


                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>>>> 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
                used to
                    obscure the genesis of phenomena. Distinction is
        not equal to
                    I really don't know what you are referring to with
        product and
                    history. Perhaps you could explain?
                    *Andy Blunden*


                    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
                such as
                        these we are interested in (clarifying) the
                        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
the act from its production and history? Of
                course, if one had the discipline to de-couple clarity
                        modes of simplicity, then we wouldn't have the


                        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>>>>> wrote:

                            My impression, Greg and David Ki, is that
        in the CHAT
                            specifically, as opposed to the English
                in general,
                            mediation refers to *artefact-mediation*. Of
                course, every
                            is both mediated and immediate, and in
        many discursive
                            "mediation" is a concept which may be
        evoked quite
                            but with no special significant for the use of
                CHAT. In social
                            theory, for example, mediation of
        activities by other
                            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*.
                            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
                            are not artefacts. Artefacts are universal
        in their
                            but particular in their meaning. So when
        we have a
                        in mind
                            when we use a word in communication, the
                communication is
                            by the word not the concept, and it is a
                not to be
                            of that.

                            So I would prefer it if "mediation" were
                used in
                            way so that its specific meaning is made

                            PS. And David Ki is completely right in his
                comment, too.
                            *Andy Blunden*


                            Greg Thompson wrote:

                                Does "mediation" only apply to
        language and

                                Or does it include nerve fibers? (in
        which case we
                        would need
                                to include

                                And does it include our socio-contextual
                surround as in
                                Bateson's man with
                                the stick? (in which case, we would
        need to

                                Just wonderin'.


                                On Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 2:48 PM, David
        H Kirshner
        <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
                        to stop
                                    talking about
                                    situated cognition because the
        pragmatics of
                                    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
                all human
                                    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

-- 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