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

Hi Folks, 

Mike suggests an interesting line of speculation. 

I'm wondering how far the limitations on our ability to critique are purely
intellectual, or whether they may have some emotional element. Perhaps, in
Mike's thought experiment, the 'author'-- or some other Deus ex machina
---may wave a magic wand that somehow transports us to a new position, from
which we can carry out a different critique, but is our original limitation
purely intellectual, I wonder, and therefore something that can be rectified
solely by new information or a new perspective which causes us to value
things differently? My impression is that our personal world view may have
an emotional element, a sort of emotional 'glue' that holds it together, and
it is this emotional element that is responsible for the totalising aspect
of the world view. We may perhaps have an emotional need to believe that our
world view is total, and that our values are universal. If this is so, it
raises questions about the limitations of how far our purely intellectual
critiques can extend, at least without a great deal of work, and this work
is not just intellectual, restricted to the subject matter in hand, but is
more like a sort of therapy


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Glassman, Michael
Sent: 16 September 2014 21:21
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: mediate perception and direct perception

Okay, here is a thought experiment.  You are a character in a novel, let's
say it is War and Peace.  You have decided to critique the way in which
Napoleon is presented in the novel.  Yet the only information you have to
make the critique is from your experiences in the novel.  Everything fits
together based on the way the narrative is set out.  It is not that you no
information on Napoleon outside the novel, it is that you do not realize
that there is even the possibility that there might be information outside
of the novel.  You critique from within but the ability to critique is
actually controlled by Tolstoy, who has his own reasons for portraying all
the characters in the way he does.  But you do not even realize there is a
Tolstoy, this is simply the world that has been set up for you - as Huw
suggests the purpose of the system is the system.  Is there really any
chance for a true critique or is the game rigged, are you always going to
wind up in some place that we already dete
rmined by the novel itself.

Now let's say you can as a character you can step outside the novel, realize
it is a novel, understand that this is a system that Tolstoy has created for
his own purposes (writers have been experimenting with this idea for
generations).  Isn't that a qualitatively different critique from within,
and isn't this the only critique that allows you to escape your life as a
character in the novel.

If this makes no sense I apologize.  

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on
behalf of Martin John Packer [mpacker@uniandes.edu.co]
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 3:30 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: mediate perception and direct perception

We critique it from within. All the time.


On Sep 16, 2014, at 2:20 PM, Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu> wrote:

> But then Martin are you saying we can't critique our culture.  Or if we
could what would be the process.  I guess all this comes from a conversation
I was having this morning - what are the aims of education?
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on
behalf of Martin John Packer [mpacker@uniandes.edu.co]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 3:14 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: mediate perception and direct perception
> How could we step out of culture, Michael, if it sustains human life?
Surely culture is pervasive: no human being lives outside culture. Created
to a purpose? Not sure what you mean by that.
> Martin
> On Sep 16, 2014, at 2:02 PM, Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu>
>> But in order to do this don't we have to be able to challenge the primacy
of culture as it exists now?  And to do this don't we need to acknowledge
that culture is not organic or necessarily pervasive but something that is
created to a purpose.  How do we critique something if we don't believe we
can step outside of it?
>> Michael
>> ________________________________________
>> From: xmca-l-bounces+mglassman=ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
[xmca-l-bounces+mglassman=ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of
Martin John Packer [mpacker@uniandes.edu.co]
>> Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:49 PM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: mediate perception and direct perception
>> Agreed, but I would say that the solution, if there is one, is not to
live without culture but to live with a better culture.  Follow Foucault
along one of the roads not taken...
>> Martin
>> On Sep 16, 2014, at 1:42 PM, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
<pmocombe@mocombeian.com> wrote:
>>> The problem I am having Martin is what adorno and horkheimer alluded to
in the dialectic of enlightenment...where reason and culture becomes the
mechanisms for our demise.  It is one thing to have culture, but its another
thing to have a culture associated with thanatos.
>>> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
>>> President
>>> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
>>> www.mocombeian.com
>>> www.readingroomcurriculum.com
>>> www.paulcmocombe.info
>>> <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Martin John
Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co> </div><div>Date:09/16/2014  2:20 PM
(GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
<xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: mediate
perception and direct perception </div><div>
>>> </div>Okay, Paul, but if we start with the fact that our bodies not only
live in the material world but are components of that material world, I
think we end up with a different conclusion than Kant did. And can we live
in a state of nature in which culture plays no role? No, because human
biology has evolved so that we cannot survive except by living and working
together, or without all the tools and other artifacts that previous
generations have designed, fabricated, and shown us how to use.
>>> Martin
>>> On Sep 16, 2014, at 12:26 PM, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
<pmocombe@mocombeian.com> wrote:
>>>> Tying to the material world is my language martin...but in essence kant
is saying the same thing, as a subject of experience we are tied to the
object of experience vis-a-vis our form of sensibilities, which is different
from the form of our understanding which can transcends the former but never
access the object in itself.
>>>> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
>>>> President
>>>> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
>>>> www.mocombeian.com
>>>> www.readingroomcurriculum.com
>>>> www.paulcmocombe.info
>>>> <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Martin John
Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co> </div><div>Date:09/16/2014  12:25 PM
(GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
<xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: mediate
perception and direct perception </div><div>
>>>> </div>Did Kant say that our bodies tie us to our material world? I am
more familiar with Kant's statements that a universal, transcendental mind
creates mental representations which enable each of us to bring 'order' to
the 'chaos of sensations,' so that we can never truly know material reality.
The value of Hegel consists in challenging this 'cognitivism' that continues
to dominate the social sciences today.
>>>> Martin
>>>> On Sep 16, 2014, at 11:01 AM, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
<pmocombe@mocombeian.com> wrote:
>>>>> I would think it is a problem in how sensations are mediated.  That
is, if kant is right and our bodies tie us to the material world... does it
and our form of understanding coupled with the material world also dictate
an unmediating universal way by which we humans should recursively go about
reproducing and reorganizing our species-being?  Simply put, is there a
state of nature we should attempt to live-in dictated by our bodies and the
material world that is not mediated by culture?
>>>>> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
>>>>> President
>>>>> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
>>>>> www.mocombeian.com
>>>>> www.readingroomcurriculum.com
>>>>> www.paulcmocombe.info
>>>>> <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Carol
Macdonald <carolmacdon@gmail.com> </div><div>Date:09/16/2014  11:13 AM
(GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture Activity"
<xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: mediate
perception and direct perception </div><div>
>>>>> </div>On 15 Sep 2014 7:08 AM, "Dr. Paul C. Mocombe"
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> Carol,
>>>>>> It would appear, to me at least, that the unmediated sensations you
>>>>>> referring to parallels kant ' s forms of sensibilities and
>>>>>> which belong to the body and schopenhauer 's will.  I would agree
>>>>>> culture enframes them in a variety of ways.  However, do they not, as
>>>>>> sensations, tie us down to the material world irrespective of the
>>>>>> ways we encounter them?
>>>>> Yes, I think so,and but I am not sure why that is a problem. Please
>>>>> explain.
>>>>> However, surely we can also remember these sensations.  Today some of
>>>>> suburbs had their water cut off for about 21 hours.  I am sure I
wasn't the
>>>>> only who could imagine how lovely it would be to have a shower (or
bath or
>>>>> wash, depending on your culture); and we know what water tastes like.
>>>>> Carol
>>>>>> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
>>>>>> President
>>>>>> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
>>>>>> www.mocombeian.com
>>>>>> www.readingroomcurriculum.com
>>>>>> www.paulcmocombe.info
>>>>>> <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Carol
Macdonald <
>>>>>> carolmacdon@gmail.com> </div><div>Date:09/15/2014  8:39 AM
>>>>>> </div><div>To: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>, "eXtended Mind,
>>>>>> Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re:
>>>>>> mediate perception and direct perception </div><div>
>>>>>> </div>Hi Andy,
>>>>>> This seems to be an all inclusive scheme which ties us down, but at
>>>>>> same time purports to account for "everything".  But are there really
>>>>>> 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.
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> Andy, but I am trying to keep open Shotter's concerns.
>>>>>> Carol
>>>>>> On 15 September 2014 14:02, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>>>>>> Ah! I see!
>>>>>>> As Hegel said: "There is nothing, nothing in heaven, or in nature or
>>>>>>> mind or anywhere else which does not equally contain both immediacy
>>>>>>> mediation." I have no great problem with anyone saying that anything
>>>>>>> mediated by anything else, where it is appropriate. My problem is
>>>>>> the
>>>>>>> specific insight of Vygotsky, that artefact-mediation of actions
>>>>>>> an especially productive unit of analysis for science is lost if
>>>>>> mediation
>>>>>>> in the broad sense is mixed up in CHAT literature with
>>>>>>> to the point that artefact-mediation is lost. Still, I would prefer
>>>>>> if
>>>>>>> you were to make the point you were referring to you used some
>>>>>>> other than "mediation."
>>>>>>> Artefact mediation of actions is a brilliant insight. I can do what
>>>>>>> like, but to do anything (other than have dreams or thoughts) I have
>>>>>> 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,
>>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> So
>>>>>>> every action I take is essentially cultural-historical as well as
>>>>>> personal.
>>>>>>> Also, because artefacts are material objects, their physical form is
>>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>>>> obviously false.  If one has simplified, through "clarity", the
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>>>> to demonstrate this.
>>>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>>>> Huw
>>>>>>>> On 15 September 2014 04:26, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>>>>>>> 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/>
>>>>>>>> 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>>> 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/>
>>>>>>>>        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>>> 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