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[Xmca-l] Re: The history of science fiction and imagined worlds



Fascinating
David, your comment:

"and the rationalist belief in the inflexible, innate laws of grammar"

can be placed alongside Peirce's comment:
"The scientific imagination DREAMS of explanations and laws"

For Peirce the origin of new ideas and scientific hypothesis were
particulary important questions. Peirce was not a romanticist, as he wanted
to produce a harmony of creativity and logic and in order to find this
harmony Peirce reformulated logic in a radical way.
He composed the *logic of relatives* a new logic of interpretation which
allowed for the change and growth of SYSTEMS of thought..

There seems to be a play of *transversals* that involves science fiction
Larry

On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:22 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> Yes, I was impressed. But mostly I was impressed by how cramped,
> ethnocentric and also present-centric Saler's view of imaginary worlds
> is.
>
> The argument, as I understand it, is that the colonization of
> imaginary worlds only begins with Sherlock Holmes, because it is only
> with Sherlock Holmes that people began to deliberately "believe" in a
> fictional creation and "disbelieve" in the actual creator. That is,
> adult play only begins with people who were the peers of my
> grandparents. Hoaxes, myths, and religions may also be imaginary
> worlds that are inhabited by large numbers of people, but they do not
> signify, because the effort of believing in them in order to inhabit
> them is not differentiated from believing in them because you think
> they are true.
>
> Of course, the distinction between the conscious, volitional
> "suspension of disbelief" and non-conscious, non-volitional delusion
> is very much older than this. At the end of Don Quixote, the old man's
> neighbors try their very best to convince Don Quixote to go on
> inhabiting the novelistic world he has created for them, and fail;
> there is no suggestion that they do this because they believe the old
> man's world is real. There was a spate of similar novels in English in
> eighteenth century (e.g. Charlotte Lennox's "the Female Quixote"), and
> Jane Austen's first novel, Northanger Abbey, is a romance about a
> woman whose whole attraction is that she actually assumes only the
> very best motives in real people, and reserves her fascination with
> ill will for the reading of Gothic novels; when she meets with a
> genuinely nasty character (General Tilney) for the first time, she
> imputes Gothic motives to him where there are only mundane and
> mercenary ones, and the novel ends with the half disenchantment of the
> heroine and half enchantment of the General's son, both quite
> deliberately acts of metacognition.
>
> But as with so many things, the Chinese thought of it much earlier.
> "Journey to the West" started out as "fan fiction" of a particular
> kind of Buddhist adventure novel, and became parodistsic. "Dream of
> the Red Chamber" is about a stone left over from when the world was
> made, which is reincarnated by a sensitive young man who falls in with
> one cousin and marries another. It is also about a garden, built for a
> one day visit to her family by one of the Emperor's concubines, which
> eventually bankrupts the family. But the children of the family are
> allowed to run wild there, and they indulge a wide variety of fancies:
> at various places we are told that various parts of the novel, and
> even whole families, are simply willful fictions in the minds of
> others. Actually, in the days before mass printing, almost every
> fiction manuscript was passed around in a community (rather as Jane
> Austen's manuscripts were shared in her family) and "Dream of the Red
> Chamber" was probably finished by someone else (the last third of it
> was written well after the death of the author, but computer analysis
> has not definitively proven that it was written by someone else).
>
> I think that the reason we tend to make howlers like Saler's is that,
> like fish, we just can't see the water we swim in, and we keep
> thinking that our own age is somehow uniquely modern, and the
> preoccupations of our own brands of irrealist and realist thinking
> (e.g. between art and science, between rationality and wonder) are the
> last word and not merely latest one. I spend a great deal of the time
> that I spend writing half-listening to eighteenth century operas,
> which are in very obvious ways imaginary worlds which we enter only by
> voluntarily checking our linguistic assumptions in the cloakroom. In
> less obvious ways, it seems to me, these imaginary worlds are
> interested in a clash that we no longer take very seriously. It's the
> clash between a form of knowledge which is broadly humanist, because
> empirical, and one which is narrowly rationalist, because puritanical.
> The humanist agenda demands that the opera must end in an act of
> forgiveness (as the Count is forgiven in the Marriage of Figaro). The
> strictly rationalist agenda forbids this (because forgiveness by its
> very nature is a kind of diremption of justice). Don Giovanni gets
> around this problem by making repentance a precondition for
> forgiveness, and then by arguing that the truly damnable will never
> repent, not even as they are actually being damned.
>
> We still see traces of this clash between empiricistic humanism and
> merciless rationalism in my own field, language teaching. There is the
> humanist belief in words--empirical, temporary negotiations of meaning
> between human beings--and the rationalist belief in the inflexible,
> innate laws of grammar. But elsewhere it seems to have been subsumed
> in the general opposition between art and science that we find in
> Saler's talk. Part of the point of my book is really to try to revive
> it--in the form of a humanizing dialogic tendency in story telling
> versus a more rationalizing narrativistic one.
>
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>
> By the way...the index of the book has at last been fixed, and
> everybody and their grandchildren can download the first two chapters
> for free at....
>
>
> https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/imagination-and-praxis/the-great-globe-and-all-who-it-inherit/
>
>
> (Yes, even xmca postings sometimes carry promotions...think of it not
> as an interface between the virtual world and the real one, but only
> as yet another interface between this virtual world and the next one!)
>
> dk
>
>
>
> On 24 September 2014 12:10, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> > Just trying to keep some minimum level of continuity in the discussions,
> > Greg. Maybe its just my problem alone, but I think one or two others
> suffer
> > from the same difficulties.
> >
> > My intention is to watch both and consider them together. If that's a
> > mistake, my loss! I do not watch TED talks as a general rule, but when
> they
> > are specifically called out by xmca members as relevant, seems like a
> > relatively painless way to figure out what other participants in the
> > discussion are trying to communicate.
> >
> > Easier than reading, for example, *Who's Asking*?  !! :-)))
> >
> > Rockin chair mike
> >
> > Thanks
> >
> > On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 7:38 PM, Greg Thompson <
> greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> I thought the other tread was beginning to descend into "reality" more
> than
> >> I care to (or perhaps worse, spiraling downward into the abyss of an
> >> epistemologically-minded social constructionism - is there a there
> there?).
> >>
> >> Seemed like good reason to soar in the imagination (yes, Mike, I know
> that
> >> you prefer to invert that metaphor and "ascend to the concrete" - which
> >> makes me wonder what you mean by "the concrete"? Reality? Or something
> >> else? A "made real"?).
> >>
> >> But I'd agree that it is on point with a "making"-oriented social
> >> constructionism (trying to avoid using that awful word "ontological"?).
> >>
> >> Anyway, I think this is the Haidt talk that John Cummins was proposing:
> >> http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind?language=en
> >>
> >> I'm wondering if people are a bit fed up with the Ted talks since it
> can be
> >> tough to find 20 minutes to watch/listen to a Ted talk and they can be
> hit
> >> or miss.
> >> But I would again strongly recommend the Saler talk I originally sent in
> >> this email. I thought David Ke, in particular, would find it interesting
> >> (or at least point out where it is wrong). David?
> >> Others?
> >> -greg
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 6:59 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> >>
> >> > I thought the other tread involved imagination as a central component,
> >> > Greg.
> >> > So not clear why this is a distraction. (Or am i in the wrong
> >> conversation
> >> > here?).
> >> >
> >> > Can you find the Haight TED talk that was recommended to us? Perhaps
> the
> >> > two talks will aid the discussion.
> >> > mike
> >> >
> >> > On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 7:37 AM, Greg Thompson <
> >> greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> >> > wrote:
> >> >
> >> > > Apologies for distracting from the "real world" discussions on the
> >> other
> >> > > thread, but I came across this Ted talk and thought that others
> might
> >> be
> >> > > interested in the history and role of imagined worlds in politics:
> >> > > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUtErxgz7Mo
> >> > >
> >> > > But perhaps it is worth tracing otherworlds and "the otherwise" to
> >> works
> >> > > such as those of Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne, and Rabelais.
> >> > >
> >> > > Seems like imagining other worlds has always been a deeply political
> >> act.
> >> > >
> >> > > -greg
> >> > >
> >> > > --
> >> > > Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> >> > > Assistant Professor
> >> > > Department of Anthropology
> >> > > 882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> >> > > Brigham Young University
> >> > > Provo, UT 84602
> >> > > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >> > >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > --
> >> >
> >> > 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]
> >> >
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> >> Assistant Professor
> >> Department of Anthropology
> >> 882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> >> Brigham Young University
> >> Provo, UT 84602
> >> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> >
> > 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]
>