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[Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder

Hi Andy,

So it was the object until it was fully recognised that it shouldn't be.
Why does this contradict Leontyev?


On 22 September 2014 14:32, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> It's an 12 minute talk, Huw, (8 mins for discussion) aimed at critiquing
> the foundations of AT, proposing a new foundation, and presenting an
> outline of how asbestos was first produced and then banned. :) The full
> story is in the book. But thanks for the pointer. I'll try to address it.
> I don't touch on AN Leontyev's dualism of need and object, but you have
> raised it. There is a need for insulation material for buildings. There is
> also a need for buildings that don't give you cancer. The need for
> insulation does not find an adequate object in asbestos because asbestos
> fails to meet the need for safety. A need can be met by different objects.
> I can resolve that contradiction by spelling out the need more precisely.
> But asbestos production *was* the object and yet it didn't meet the need -
> for safe insulation.
> But the real object of the talk is to critique the idea that if a social
> formation is producing something (either because the Central Ctee said so
> or because the market said so) then ipso facto there is an objective need
> for it. This is OK for dealing with the child who is not doing their
> homework and failing to learn to read. The teacher with some good reason
> thinks they have the final say, the Truth, about the objective need for
> literacy. But the fact is that the Central Committee and the Market both
> get it very wrong sometimes. And these are after all, for social theory,
> the interesting cases. In large measure that is the problem I am addressing
> myself to.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>>     One's conceptual frame is unified through commitment to a
>>     life-project. Opinions and evidence which don't fit the conceptual
>>     frame generated by the central concept of a life-project, its
>>     vision of the Good Life. There is a 10 minute talk on this in
>>     relation to denial of the dangers posed to health by asbestos
>>     here:
>>     https://www.academia.edu/8179060/Activity_as_Project_
>> The_Case_of_Asbestos
>>     Apologies for going on too long.
>>     Andy
>> I've caught up with this thread, briefly.
>> Andy, I think your article could be tightened up a little on the notion
>> of objective as simple.  You make the case towards the end that objective
>> need should not be considered as unproblematic (which can be generalised to
>> the notion that anything objective should not be taken as unproblematic).
>> However you also state early on:
>> "Far from there being any need which is met by asbestos and provides an
>> objective motive for its production, it is now universally acknowledged
>> that asbestos kills people."
>> Which, to me, seems to confuse the substance with the functional
>> (technological) properties deemed to be of good value, i.e. that it would
>> be a mistake to state that asbestos itself fulfils a need, rather it is the
>> functional relations fulfilled and established by it, that was deemed
>> productive.
>> I don't think this undermines your point about projects here, but it
>> does, I think, change the view that Leontyev's formulation was not adequate
>> sociologically, to an assertion about how to construe motive (i.e. as
>> related to a means of production).
>> There is, of course, a new danger that one takes the concept in
>> "projects" as some new kind of fixed point.  But I think there is already a
>> tradition here, in the form of myth as a means of production.
>> Best,
>> Huw
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>> ------------
>>     *Andy Blunden*
>>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>     Charles Bazerman wrote:
>>         Michael,
>>         I am with you, and not only because of climate change
>>         deniers.  The sociocultural critique has been important to
>>         show that humans make knowledge, and they do it from their own
>>         interests and perspectives.  Yet, various disciplines and
>>         sciences, have come to know more about the world in ways that
>>         are less entangled with the limits of individual or small
>>         group perceptions and interests.
>>         Disciplines do represent the world outside of themselves,
>>         gathering data--of course selectively through their own
>>         devices, their means of collection, forms of inscription and
>>         display, etc...  Historically, the methodological standards in
>>         different fields have evolved to include more awareness of the
>>         contingency, fragility, and specificity of samples, data and
>>         analysis--along with increasing cleverness of our tools.
>> This is what methodology is all about.  I tend to view
>>         objectivity not as an absolute, but an awareness of ways in
>>         which we are entangled with the phenomena we are trying to
>>         study, and to find ways to disentangle ourselves less.
>>         So from this perspective, incorporating the sociocultural
>>         critique creates challenges to maintain the persuasiveness of
>>         our data, representation, and analysis. Over the last few
>>         decades, we have been struggling in different disciplines to
>>         incorporate this critique but yet maintain the disciplinary
>>         projects of advancing contingent, but useful and reliable
>>         knowledge.  I like your term warranted assertability. I myself
>>         have relied on the idea of accountability--in terms of being
>>         able to give a good account of your research actions when
>>         queried from various directions. But it is important to the
>>         advance of knowledge that we find ways to gather and
>>         understand information about the world (in which we are both
>>         living parts and the constructors of knowledge about that
>>         world including ourselves) that recognizes the contingency of
>>         our knowledge but does not evaporate our confidence in that
>>         knowledge into a vapor of contingency only.
>>         I have struggled with this issue for many years in my work on
>>         the rhetoric of science and have discussed it in various ways,
>>         drawing on the work of many others (Ludwik Fleck still seems
>>         important to me over many years), but more work needs to be
>>         done to crystallize an understanding that leaves science and
>>         social science standing despite it being created by poor,
>>         frail, interested, humans of limited and skewed vision.
>>         best,
>>         Chuck
>>         ----- Original Message -----
>>         From: "Glassman, Michael" <glassman.13@osu.edu
>>         <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>>
>>         Date: Monday, September 22, 2014 11:21 am
>>         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder
>>         To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>>         <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>             It seems to me that articles like this can be a double
>>             edged sword.  They use examples where culture has an
>>             influence on how we see things but then offer the
>>             generalization that science is perspective.  This is the
>>             same line you hear by climate deniers who claim that the
>>             climatologists have a liberal bias.   Science is based on
>>             individual perspective until it doesn't.   I'm their book
>>             is a much more nuanced discussion.   This is a really
>>             complex issue which at this particular moment has
>>             extraordinary import.  Maybe we need to find other ways to
>>             discuss this - like warranted assertability.  Perhaps I
>>             have been spending too much time reading about the
>>             politics of climate change lately and it has spooked me.
>>             Michael
>>             ________________________________________
>>             From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] on behalf of
>>             David Preiss [daviddpreiss@gmail.com
>>             <mailto:daviddpreiss@gmail.com>]
>>             Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2014 9:41 PM
>>             To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>             Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder
>>             And they make claims for all humankind.
>>             Enviado desde mi iPhone
>>                 El 21-09-2014, a las 22:16, Martin John Packer
>>             <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co <mailto:mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>>
>>             escribió:
>>                 So there are two distinct problems here: First, the
>>                 researchers are
>>             not diverse. Second, the people they (we?) study are not
>>             diverse.
>>                 Martin
>>                     On Sep 21, 2014, at 8:11 PM, David Preiss
>>                     <daviddpreiss@gmail.com
>>                     <mailto:daviddpreiss@gmail.com>>
>>             wrote:
>>                     Loved the WEIRD acronym. One of the best ironies
>>                     I've seen in
>>             recent scientific writing.
>>                     Enviado desde mi iPhone
>>                         El 21-09-2014, a las 18:57, Rod Parker-Rees
>>             <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk
>>             <mailto:R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>> escribió:
>>                         Great article, David - highlights the
>>                         importance (at every level)
>>             of being aware of what others might find odd about us
>>             (secondary socialisation?).
>>                         Rod
>>                         -----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
>>             David Preiss
>>                         Sent: 21 September 2014 18:31
>>                         To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>                         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder
>>                         This article is revelant for this topic:
>>                         http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~
>> henrich/pdfs/WeirdPeople.pdf
>>                         <http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/%
>> 7Ehenrich/pdfs/WeirdPeople.pdf>
>>                         Enviado desde mi iPhone
>>                             El 21-09-2014, a las 13:42, mike cole
>>                             <mcole@ucsd.edu <mailto:mcole@ucsd.edu>>
>>                             escribió:
>>                             The book by Medin and Bang, "Who's asking"
>>                             published by MIT is GREAT
>>                             reading. Seeing this in Scientific
>>                             American is super.
>>                             mike
>>                             On Sun, Sep 21, 2014 at 8:18 AM, David
>>                             Preiss <daviddpreiss@gmail.com
>>                             <mailto:daviddpreiss@gmail.com>>
>>                             wrote:
>>                                 What a fantastic piece Peter! Loved
>>                                 the references to primatology.
>>                                 David
>>                                 Enviado desde mi iPhone
>>                                     El 21-09-2014, a las 7:31, Peter
>>                                     Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu
>>                                     <mailto:smago@uga.edu>> escribió:
>>                                 http://www.scientificamerican.
>> com/article/point-of-view-affects-how-s
>>                                 cience-is-done/
>>                             --
>>                             Development and Evolution are both ...
>>                             "processes of construction
>>             and
>>                             re- construction in which heterogeneous
>>                             resources are
>>             contingently but
>>                             more or less reliably reassembled for each
>>                             life cycle." [Oyama,
>>                             Griffiths, and Gray, 2001]
>>                         ________________________________
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