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[Xmca-l] Re: The mirror has two candles

Larry, David, Greg:

I think this "seeing as" is central to understanding the psychological process of imagination that Plump Materialist Karl Marx described, as David Ke pointed out.

I have in the past thought a lot about this passage from Kapital, precisely because it seems to imply a "doubling": there is the real world, plus there is the world in the mind of the archiect. In short, it sounds like the standard cognitivist model of mental representation.

But I think in fact not. I think there is a three-part analysis of the *imagination* that Marx was describing.

First, the structure that the architect "raises in imagination" is often raised in the form of sketches, drawings, plans, and blueprints. That is, using *material* representations of the to-be-constructed building, not mental representations. We don't need to invoke "mind" to explain this. 

Second, the architect has developed a specific skill of "seeing as" (cf, Wittgenstein for an analysis). He walks around the site, seeing it *as* it will be once the construction is completed. In addition, he can see the plans *as* the building. Ed Hutchins has said, “When humans engage in symbolic processes, they are engaging in cultural practices for seeing as.”  No need to invoke "mind" to explain this.

Third, we develop brains capable of forming "simulations" of past and future events and objects (cf. Larry Barsalou's work). These simulations are "modal," that is to say, they have sensory qualities, of sound, sight, and touch. And, of course, we are conscious of them. They are*not* the unconscious, syntactic, and amodal representations of a computer.  The architect *imagines* the building by creating a simulation of it. 

Does that sound odd? On xmca we have often discussed one kind of simulation: inner speech. The silent kind. When I hear myself talking, that is my brain's simulation of a sensory experience. Where does it take place? In the brain, of course, not in the mind! Inner speech is a material phenomenon.

Barselou says this: "Grounded cognition rejects traditional views that cognition is computation on amodal symbols in a modular system, independent of the brain’s modal systems for perception, action, and introspection. Instead, grounded cognition proposes that modal simulations, bodily states, and situated action underlie cognition."

In short, a Plump Materialist can give a detailed account of imagination without locating it "inside a mind."


p.s., Greg, to be a Plump Materialist is to *avoid* doubles, at least of the ontological kind

On Oct 20, 2014, at 8:44 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> I want to respond to this theme by bringing in the notion of *mediated
> action* AS the best *unit of analysis*. Wertsch weaved together Vygotsky
> and Bakhtin and showed utterances AS *mediated actions*
> The place of the *ideal* in relation to *objects* is the theme.
> Now I want to weave in Anna Sfard's exploration of mathematical *entities*
> AS having a dual *nature*. This extension is from an article she just
> posted on the web [On the Dual Nature of Mathematical Conceptions]
> Page 4 is her elaborating this dual nature as follows.
> [is] Treating mathematical conceptions AS IF they referred to some abstract
> OBJECTS the only possibility of relating to mathematical concepts? THIS
> KIND of conception [interpretation] Anna labels *structural*. THIS TYPE of
> utterance [mediated action] prevails in mathematical discourse situations
> as mediational means
> However, there ARE different KINDS of mathematical definitions that
> *reveal* quite a different approach to these same concepts.
> Functions can be defined not only AS *a set of ordered pairs* BUT ALSO AS a
> process of *getting from one system to another* [skemp referenced]
> Symmetry can BE conceived [interpreted] AS a static property of geometric
> forms BUT ALSO AS a *kind* of transformation.  This latter TYPE of
> description [genre] SPEAKS AS IF the mathematical notion is about
> processes, algorithms, ACTIONS, [rather than speaking of these mathematical
> notions AS IF they ARE *objects*
> THIS TYPE OF GENRE *reflects* an Operational interpretation [rather than
> structural interpretation] of mathematical conceptions.
> Seeing a mathematical *entity* AS *an object* *means* being capable of
> gesturing [referring] to the mathematical concept  AS IF the mathematical
> concept were A REAL THING [a static structure actually existing somewhere
> in time and space but timeless] It also *means* being able to *recognize*
> the *idea* at a glance AND to manipulate this mathematical conception AS IF
> the structure existed AS A WHOLE [without going into details or analysis]
> Using Hadamard's *metaphor* we can SAY that *structural genres* endows a
> concept with a KIND of *physiognomy* which ALLOWS a person to think of this
> concept AS a unique, THING [entity] however complicated this concept may BE.
> In contrast, interpreting A concept AS A PROCESS implies regarding THIS
> PARTICULAR mathematical concept AS A POTENTIAL [existant] rather than an
> ACTUAL EXISTING ENTITY. In operational kinds of genres the *entity* COMES
> INTO EXISTENCE upon request in a sequence of actions.
> whereas the structural genre IS timeless [static] instantaneous, and
> integrative, the operational genre is dynamic, sequential, and detailed. In
> other words different mediational means within *mediated action* produce
> radically different notions of the place of concepts as interpretants that
> exist [in actuality or in potential]
> THEREFORE the play involves different TYPES of *seeing* and different TYPES
> of *saying*.
> BOTH are equally *true*
> I have been exploring *objects of activity* *units of analysis* and
> *mediated action* through Anna Sfard's exploration of mathematical
> conceptions which do not appear through the 5 senses but DO EXIST.
> Larry
> On Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 4:00 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi David,
>> I don't think anyone is going to argue against the paper's defamatory
>> quality.  Everything he says against LSV can be taken with a pinch of salt
>> if we assume he was trying to protect his colleagues.
>> What remains is therefore what is countered and proposed with respect to
>> the subject of the environment.
>> Best,
>> Huw
>> On 19 October 2014 23:38, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> First of all, a word of appreciation to Martin for his candle in the
>>> mirror and his delightful formulation of "Plump Materialism", and also
>>> to Michael for recognizing the beauty of the image and using it to
>>> revitalize a thread that was growing somewhat tiresome to me: no fault
>>> of the participants; it was my own inability to see past "fatalistic
>>> determinism", "captive to bourgeois theories", and ANL's other fatuous
>>> formulae. As Mike points out, this is not just name calling: these are
>>> blood libels.
>>> Secondly, let me put in a word for Andy's counter-blast. For those of
>>> you who have not read it; it is available on Andy's academia.edu page,
>>> and it's well worth a look:
>> http://www.academia.edu/7511935/The_Problem_of_the_Environment._A_Defence_of_Vygotsky
>>> Thirdly--can I draw attention to the top of page fourteen of ANL's
>>> dishonest and dishonorable hatchet job? Here he rounds on Basov for
>>> non-Marxist, idealist notion that humans in some way "double" the
>>> natural environment. ANL returns to this theme at the bottom of the
>>> page where he says:
>>> "To the animal, however, any “artificial” object created by humans is
>>> simply
>>> a natural object, it is nature because the animal’s relation toward it
>>> will always
>>> be an instinctive relation. Thus, of course, in reality there is no
>>> doubling of the
>>> environment. The environment as a whole is transformed into a human
>>> environment,
>>> that is, for the human being, into a social environment, based on the
>>> fact that humans themselves relate to it in human terms, that is, as
>>> social humans."
>>> Note the use of "Thus"; it marks a shameless non sequitur. First of
>>> all, it is a non sequitur to say that because animals and very small
>>> children treat i-phones as natural objects, THEREFORE there is no
>>> doubling of the environment Secondly, it is a non sequitur to say that
>>> the environment "as a whole" becomes a human environment (because
>>> animals and infants do NOT see it that way??) without any trace of the
>>> natural environment. But the biggest non-sequitur is the least
>>> explicit: it is the insinuation that the process of social
>>> idealization of nature that we call enculturation is prima facie
>>> subversive of Marxism.
>>> Consider the following, from a great subversive of Marxism and primal
>>> plump materialist:
>>> "We pre-suppose labour in a form that stamps it as exclusively human.
>>> A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a
>>> bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells.
>>> But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is
>>> this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he
>>> erects it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a
>>> result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its
>>> commencement." (Capital, Vol 1, Chapter III, Part 7)
>>> What is THIS if not a doubling of reality--a mirror with two candles?
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>> have a look:
>>> On 20 October 2014 00:15, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Here's an example memory paper abstract by Sereda (2011), titled "A
>>>> Theoretical Model of Memory
>>>> as a Mechanism for Systematically Organizing Individual Experience"
>>>> "In order to improve the explanatory potential of activity theory, this
>>>> article
>>>> proposes a theoretical model of human memory as a mechanism for
>>>> the systematic organization of individual experience, organization that
>>>> is an essential condition for performing future activity. The model
>> rests
>>>> on the idea that the main factor in human memory is the motivational
>>>> and semantic sets of personality and thus orientation toward the future
>>>> (prospective orientation)."
>>>> The storehouse metaphor as used in psychology merely reflects a rather
>>> poor
>>>> approach.
>>>> Best,
>>>> Huw
>>>> On 19 October 2014 15:20, Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu>
>> wrote:
>>>>> Hi Larry,
>>>>> I renamed this thread because it seems to be taking a tangent from the
>>>>> very rich discussion on LSV and ANL, but perhaps it might circle back.
>>>>> Anyway, I thought Martin's very interesting illustration deserves a
>>> moment
>>>>> of fame.  I wonder if memory is the right word in current
>>> circumstance.  In
>>>>> U.S. psychology memory is very often viewed as a storehouse of
>>> information
>>>>> where you send your messages back to retrieve information when needed
>> to
>>>>> apply to the current situation.  Do you think Pierce would see the
>>> overall
>>>>> process this way (did he actually talk about memory?)  For him it
>> seems
>>> it
>>>>> would be part of a more active process of establishing relationships
>> of
>>>>> that which came before with that which is currently being explored.
>>>>> Michael
>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [
>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu]
>>>>> on behalf of lpscholar2@gmail.com [lpscholar2@gmail.com]
>>>>> Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2014 6:40 AM
>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: units of analysis? LSV versus ANL
>>>>> Michael Glassman and Martin and How
>>>>> I want to ex-tend the exploration of *models* and *memories* and
>>>>> *contextualism* as linked in Michael’s rejoinder to Martin.
>>>>> Michael wrote “if ALL you can *see* [perceive] is what is IN the
>> mirror
>>>>> [metaphor of reflection AS mirroring] how do you “know” there IS a
>>> mirror
>>>>> The IF IMPLIED is the ‘ALL’ .
>>>>> However, is that “all there IS” in *seeing*?
>>>>> IS “memory* also existent as an existent IN seeing?
>>>>> In other words, do *interpretants* ACTUALLY exist IN FACT? [as such]
>>>>> Umberto Eco suggests there is both ORPHIC knowing/seeing [when Picasso
>>>>> paints THAT PARTICULAR yellow shoe in a painting the SINGULARITY of
>>>>> experience IS “orphic”
>>>>> POETS and artists are “biased” to privilege THIS WAY of knowing
>>> [Peirce's
>>>>> secondness as orphic and possibly orphaned]
>>>>> HOWEVER, Umberto Eco suggests that this orphic “knowing* is also
>>>>> *indicative* [indexical] of further *interpreting* AND THIS TYPE of
>>>>> *knowing* EX-TENDS Orphic knowing. [Peirce's tiredness]
>>>>> Now in Peirce's metaphysics THIS interpreting creating interpretants
>>> also
>>>>> is EXISTING as facts.
>>>>> Is this transforming orphic [what IS present] TO forming
>> *interpretants*
>>>>> AS *something* that actually exists {through the interpreting process}
>>>>> INCLUDE memory but that IS NOT ALL.
>>>>> IS creative imagining potentially existent?  that goes BEYOND memory?
>>>>> I believe Umberto Eco’s question of a deeper knowing than
>> orphic/orphan
>>>>> knowing *things-in-themselves* EX-tending BEYOND the orphic
>>> [secondness] to
>>>>> INCLUDE interpreting and forming actual *interpretants* [tiredness]
>>> must be
>>>>> considered within the memory process.
>>>>> This returns to *models* that are necessary but NOT ALL there *is*.
>>>>> The *relation* between *orphic* knowing and *interpreting* knowing
>>> seems a
>>>>> KEY question [and may ex-tend back into metaphysics?
>>>>> Larry
>>>>> Sent from Windows Mail
>>>>> From: Glassman, Michael
>>>>> Sent: ‎Saturday‎, ‎October‎ ‎18‎, ‎2014 ‎5‎:‎18‎ ‎PM
>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>> Hi Martin,
>>>>> That's a very interesting metaphor, but let me see if I can take it a
>>> step
>>>>> further.  Basically you seem to be saying that Vygotsky is making a
>>>>> mechanistic argument - I'm not talking about the more colloquial
>>> expression
>>>>> of mechanistic but the one that Pepper talks about in World
>> Hypothesis.
>>>>> You are looking into the mirror and seeing the reflection of a candle
>> -
>>> but
>>>>> you are making the assumption that there must be a mechanism that is
>>>>> causing the reflection of the candle.  You cannot know this mechanism
>>>>> itself - it is too difficult to reach - but you can build models that
>>> bring
>>>>> us closer to understanding. This I think is almost exactly how Pepper
>>>>> discusses this root metaphor.  Our goal as scientists is to find the
>>>>> mediate description of the underlying mechanism.  This
>>>>> Pragmatists/Conextualists would say this is dualism - not the dualism
>>> you
>>>>> get from Formism where you depend on your mind to bring you closer to
>> a
>>>>> known but unreachable ideal, but in the sense that there is this
>>> mechanism
>>>>> that exists that is somehow separate from and causing the reflection
>> in
>>> the
>>>>> mirror.  So the Contextualist asks, if all you can see is what is in
>> the
>>>>> mirror how do you know there is a mirror.  That is the only
>> information
>>> you
>>>>> have and you have to base all interpretation of the world on that
>>>>> information - to suggest you are looking at a reflection is an
>>> assumption
>>>>> based on a belief system that there must be causing what you are
>>> seeing.  I
>>>>> think you are right, Vygotsky wants to assume the mirror, but in the
>> end
>>>>> doesn't that suggest a dualism to his thinking.
>>>>> Michael
>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [
>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu]
>>>>> on behalf of Martin John Packer [mpacker@uniandes.edu.co]
>>>>> Sent: Saturday, October 18, 2014 6:38 PM
>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: units of analysis? LSV versus ANL
>>>>> Hi Michael,
>>>>> LSV points out that no proper science sets out to study appearances.
>>> Every
>>>>> science studies entities that exist, in order to *explain*
>> appearance.
>>> One
>>>>> of his examples is from the science of optics. When we place a burning
>>>>> candle in front of a mirror there *appears* to be a second candle
>>> burning
>>>>> behind the mirror, or 'in' the mirror. The scientist doesn't study
>> that
>>>>> second candle. What he or she studies is the first candle, and the
>>> mirror,
>>>>> in order to discover principles by which to explain why an 'image' of
>> a
>>>>> second candle appears, apparently located 'in' the mirror.
>>>>> It's the same with the mind. It *appears* to us (at least to those of
>> us
>>>>> raised in western, scientific cultures) that our thoughts and feelings
>>>>> exist in a special, internal, subjective, hidden place that we call
>> "the
>>>>> mind."  A scientific psychology, says LSV, needs to try to explain how
>>> that
>>>>> appearance is possible. It's not too difficult, in fact: our verbal
>>>>> thoughts, our private subvocal speech, is possible, first, because we
>>> can
>>>>> use vocal speech to direct our own actions and second, because a fibre
>>>>> bundle called the arcuate fasciculus forms between Broca's area and
>>>>> Wernicke's area (to considerably simply the neuroanatomy and
>>>>> neurofunctioning).  The appearance of a "mind in the head" is a *folk*
>>>>> psychology: it is simply one way, among several, in which people try
>> to
>>>>> make sense of an experience that they have; it is the way our own
>>>>> psychological processes *appear* to us. Scientific psychology cannot
>>> study
>>>>> the mind, any more than it can study the second candle. It can,
>> however,
>>>>> set out to *explain* the mind, and that is part of what LSV did.
>>>>> Martin
>>>>> On Oct 18, 2014, at 8:11 AM, Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> I sort of feel like (at this point) Vygotsky did open himself up
>> for
>>>>> being critiqued for going inside the head.  It was a choice, I don't
>>> think
>>>>> he was willing to give up the idea of individual development (which I
>>> think
>>>>> you have to do if you are going to escape dualism - because what
>>> develops
>>>>> if you can't say there is something inside the head that develops
>>> (remember
>>>>> I am suggesting individual development here).