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[Xmca-l] Re: XMCA discourse

Many thanks for your digest of the LSV article, Mike. It is a while since I last read it so this was a valuable refresher and meant I felt I could go straight to the ANL article which I have not seen before.

Reading the ANL article I was acutely aware of the gulf between my environment and that in which ANL was writing. Perhaps the fact that I feel this rather less when reading LSV is evidence of a closer fit between my bourgeois environmenn and his. As I understand it, and I am far from confident in this, ANL's main issue is with LSV's suggestion that 'experiencing' or perezhivanie should be used as a unit of activity, representing the indissoluble relationship between the environment and the individual. ANL appears to object to this because he sees experiencing as an abstraction from activity which should be recognised as the true core of what makes us human. The argument that an environment is only an environment FOR an active subject reminded me of Uetzkull's 'umwelt' the unique world of experience constructed by an organism in the course of its activity (including its sensing activity) but I am not sure that ANL justifies his insistence on not acknowleding experiencING as a form of activity ('experience is a secondary and derivative fact' - p.22).

ANL appears to be driven by a preference for 'putting the question in its completely clear and bare form' (p.17) but this involves a series of assertions and rhetorical strong-arm tactics which I find difficult to accept. For example, he chooses to 'set aside the complicated idea of the different course of development of the "spontaneous" and "scientific" concepts' (p.18) - an idea which I have always found particularly helpful and he insists that 'meaning always takes the form of the meaning of a word' (p.18) - denying the possibility that a smile, a raised eyebrow, rolled eyes or a raised fist could carry meaning.

I am not sure that the creation of a sign language among Nicaraguan deaf children can be taken as a counter example to LSV's argument that children are able to benefit from an environment which includes the 'ideal form' of abilities they are just beginning to develop. The children who were brought together from isolated families and then co-constructed a sophisticated sign language may not have been surrounded by an 'ideal form' of language which they could fully experience (I believe most were children of hearing parents and so experienced only a rudimentary, home-made form of home-sign) but they WERE surrounded by people who showed them that people communicate with each other so they were exposed to the 'ideal form' of communication-mediated cooperative activity even if they were not able to pick out the finer details of how it was achieved. As in other situations where children grow up among people who use a simplified ('pidgin') form of communication, their sensitivity to patterns, rules and regularities allowed them to refine it into a coherent, flexible language (a 'creole'). I am uncomfortable with the use of 'final form' as an alternative to 'ideal form' because every generation does similar things with the language it inherits - adjusting and refining it to achieve a better fit with changing social practices. Indeed this (as well as the socio-political distance between us) may explain some of the difficulties I have with ANL's way of asserting his arguments.

LSV acknowledged the important role of 'spontaneous concepts' - the often unacknowledged intuitions which arise out of our unique patterns of experience and which give 'body and vitality' to the more abstract, 'clear and bare' concepts which allow us to communicate with others - while ANL would appear to prefer a tidier view of things.

I look forward to hearing what others make of the comparison between the two papers.

 All the best,


From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of mike cole [mcole@ucsd.edu]
Sent: 12 October 2014 17:55
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: XMCA discourse

Diane- (I neglected to turn off my computer!). There are now more that 800
people signed up for XMCA. If every started typing at once, we might crash
the ucsd server it sits on. And if it is just brownian motion in alphabetic
characters, what's the point? It WOULD be good to hear from more people. At
earlier times, i have tried to work out an arrangements where a dozen
partricipants each volunteered to organize a discussion on a topic of
potential interest for a month as a means of increasing breadth of
participation and points of view. It has never worked.

Perhaps it could be tried again..... if someone other than me would like to
organize it!

Like henry, I use wikipedia a lot as a starting point. For the disucssion
of the LSV article on the environment I would recommend that people
google *senghas
nicaraguan sign language. *My conjecture is the the evidence of what
happens if a lot of deaf kids are brought together without access to an
appropriate "ideal form" (see the LSV paper for significance of that term)
contradicts LSV's argument and has implications for general aspects of
theory. But first there has to be that co-reading so we are not simply
 tangling each other up in a new way.

On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM, Diane Potts <djpotts7@hotmail.com> wrote:

> >From one of the many lurkers...
> As a new academic and one who shares David Kellogg's interests in SFL,
> language education and socio-historical theory, I benefit tremendously from
> this listserv.  I recommend it regularly to PhD students and hold it up as
> a model of an online community that has managed to continue to engage in
> lively discussions about current research with the participation of senior
> scholars. Centering those discussions on readings, at least to me, seems to
> be an effective means of carrying out the community's boundary work - not
> always pleasant work, I'll admit, but one that gives coherence to who we
> are.
> Diane Potts
> Lancaster University
> > From: leifstrandberg.ab@telia.com
> > Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2014 18:23:52 +0200
> > To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: XMCA discourse
> >
> > continue :-)
> >
> > Leif
> > Sweden

It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.

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