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[Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance

Thanks HENRY ! et al !
First as I was not catching up with the posts , I didn't see the 'stop' signal on discussion . If you count my posts in a year , you will see that I'm the least-heard voice . 
Second Vera John-Steiner is not someone not known at least to old participants . Then As I knew her , I very seriously put some questions in the hope she will kindly help . Maybe tweeters and retweeters and button-pressers have seen sarcasm , arrogance ?? in what I humbly wrote in which case they have just been playing memoirs . We have a proverb saying : bowls hotter than soup . Please let your respectable teacher talk whatever and however they wish to . There was misunderstanding of clouding which very swiftly and fortunately switched to 'unclouding' . Why again ? It's a matter of hours !! Sorry !!

      From: HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com>
 To: Haydi Zulfei <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
Cc: "vygotsky@unm.edu" <vygotsky@unm.edu> 
 Sent: Tuesday, 25 November 2014, 10:06:32
 Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Fate, Luck and Chance
Hi Haydi and Vera,
I don’t want to speak for Vera, but I remember her telling her students (when I has one of her students) about the importance developmentally of interaction between (human) care givers and very young children through “joint regard” toward objects at a distance. Am I wrong in thinking that this is very different for humans, vis-a-vis other critters? For example, I can have eye contact with my dog, but I can’t “use” my eyes (and language) to direct his attention to an object at a distance from both of us. As far as I know, only humans can do this. Am I wrong? If not, I think it says something about the ability of humans to “displace”, so important to the development of language, cognition, imagination. I believe this displacement applies both spatially and temporally. 

> On Nov 25, 2014, at 5:54 AM, Haydi Zulfei <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Vera,
> Respectfully !
> 1.  "developmentally co-constructed process" does contain the bigger share of the truth . But...
> 2. The other side to "The newborn is not awareof a conscious self" is that it is aware of some other things . The problem is with the very 'being aware' for a newborn . It does not seem to be logical . The whole thing Vygosky and his followers tried to do was to put some thing between the two components of the formula Stimulus =====> Response . Else what do we have to answer Vygotsky on his refutation of reflexology , reactology , etc. 
> 3. I think Vygotsky also uses 'feelings' of pain , hunger , comfort , etc. Are not these 'reflexes' common to both animals and humans ? Having said this , can we put the question "With respect to the genesis (ignoring its being innate) of consciousness , is it a matter of leaps and bounds or gradience ?
> 4. Then , we are left with "Eye-motion coordination" which takes us to the idea that with so many things we know about the so-called 'intelligence?!' of the animals , birds , etc. , could we specify it to just human beings . 
> 5. I got very pleased with the "add up to  thebeginnings of consciousness" . This helps a lot . But out of Vygotsky's 'emotions' I could not gather exact terms for the points on a continuum if any . amorphous what , intellect , irritability ?? 
> 6. If you are so kind to think of this also :
> a. you drive quite skillfully thinking of the xmca or whatever .
> b. You drive while the officer is testing you for certificate .
> c. You drive focusing on the manner you are driving with .  
> Best
> Haydi
>      From: Vera John-Steiner <vygotsky@unm.edu>
> To: "'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
> Sent: Monday, 24 November 2014, 16:34:24
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance
> Hi,
> I just would like to add a postscript to the discussion on consciousness and
> that is that what we experience as adults
> is a developmentally co-constructed process, and that so much of it is the
> consequence of early exchanges. That is why(among
> other reasons) it is so dynamic and open to change. The newborn is not aware
> of a conscious self,but of pain, hunger, comfort,
> all of which, together with eye-motion coordination, add up to  the
> beginnings of consciousness. Or that is how it appears to me.
> Vera 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Martin John Packer
> Sent: Monday, November 24, 2014 4:11 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance
> Well I think we are generally in agreement, Andy. However, there are some
> points of difference that it might be worth exploring.
> First, from the fact that consciousness is fallible it does not follow that
> consciousness is completely an illusion.  If that were the case, how could
> one come to judge its fallibility? How can you state with certainty that "My
> consciousness is an illusion"? No, consciousness is incomplete, and partial,
> but it can also be educated. Importantly, consciousness can come to know
> itself. And since I know the world not only from what I experience directly,
> in the first-person manner, but also from what others tell me and from what
> I read, I can become aware of the limitations of my own consciousness in
> this manner. (Consciousness is both natural and social, as I mentioned in a
> previous message.) I know, these are also given to me in my consciousness,
> but I don't see that any insuperable problems arise as a consequence. Unlike
> Descartes, I don't believe that an evil demon is bent on deceiving me.
> Consciousness is our openness to the world, as Merleau-Ponty put it.
> Second, since consciousness is personal, I have to make inferences about
> another person's consciousness. (With the exception of a few occasions of
> experiencing things together with another - like dancing salsa!) However, I
> also have to infer that, and rely on the fact that, my own consciousness is
> a material process. My own consciousness can be, and often is, outside my
> consciousness - this is, in a nutshell, LSV's argument in Crisis. In just
> the same way I come to learn that my digestion is a material process. I come
> to learn that my life itself is a material process - there is no 'life
> spirit' that animates me. Both life and digestion are, like consciousness,
> first-person processes, and nonetheless material processes. Perhaps I am
> helped in coming to these conclusions by observing other people, whose
> processes of living and digesting I cannot experience directly. 
> Where is the paradox here? It seems to me the paradox lies with those who
> say that experience is all in the mind, and yet at the same time that we can
> know the world. That was Descartes' paradox, and it remains the paradox,
> unresolved, of most of contemporary social science.
> Martin
> On Nov 24, 2014, at 5:48 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> I'll try to explain it my way, why "consciousness is a material process"
> despite the fact that "matter is what exists outside of and independently of
> consciousness" as you say, Martin.
>> In 
>> https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a
>> .htm#A Marx said "My relation to my environment is my consciousness" 
>> although he crossed it out in the manuscript. But why did he suddenly
> introduce the first person pronoun here?
>> Everything I know of the world, in any sense of the word "know," I know
> through my consciousness, but my consciousness is an illusion, a phantom,
> and fundamentally different from that which is outside my consciousness and
> reflected in it. Nonetheless it is what I use to determine my actions in the
> world. I do not act exclusively through conditional reflexes like a simple
> organism as an immediate material process, but on the contrary, mediate my
> relation to my environment through my consciousness, which I learn, is not
> 100% reliable, because it is just an illusion, but is reliable enough and in
> any case is more effective thanks to socially constructed mediation, than
> nervous reflexes.
>> But *your* consciousness is also outside my consciousness, and therefore I
> must regard it as material, and if I am to get to know it, I rely on the
> fact that it is a material process, arising from your behaviour and your
> physiology, and although *like anything* I cannot have unmediated access to
> it, I can learn about it only through material interactions, the same way in
> that sense that I learnt your name and age.
>> But you are of course in the same position. A world of phantoms and 
>> illusions is all you have to guide your activity in the material 
>> world, too. Vygotsky says that the confusion arises "When one mixes up 
>> the epistemological problem with the ontological one". That is the 
>> relation between consciousness (an illusion) and matter 
>> (interconnected with all other processes in the universe) is actually 
>> an epistemological one, that is, of the sources and validity of 
>> knowledge, and not an ontological one, that is a claim that 
>> consciousness is something existing side by side so to speak with 
>> matter. So it is important that while I recognise that for any person 
>> the distinction for them between consciousness and matter is 
>> absolutely fundamental, I must regard their consciousness as a 
>> material process, explainable from their physiology and behaviour. 
>> This is not a trivial point. Consciousness is not neuronal activity. 
>> Neuronal activity is the material basis, alongside behaviour, of 
>> consci
> ousness, but the world is not reflected for me in neuronal activity, which
> I know about only thanks to watching science programs on TV. Consciousness
> is given to me immediately, however, and I am not aware of any neuronal
> activity there.
>> So yes, what you said was right, "consciousness is a material process,"
> but I think it unhelpful to leave it as a paradox like that. And I admit it
> is unhelpful to be rude. Perhaps we both ought to exercise more restraint?
>> Andy
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>> --
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> Martin John Packer wrote:
>>> Don't get your point, Huw. A rectangle is generally defined as having
> unequal sides, in contrast to a square, so that's not helping me. Obviously
> (I would think) I am not saying that consciousness is the entirely of
> matter. 
>>> Perhaps you can help me in my struggle...
>>> Martin
>>>>> Andy,
>>>>> I don't see that being rude advances the conversation.  When I 
>>>>> assert a position here in this discussion I try to base it on an 
>>>>> argument, and/or in sources that we all have access to. I'm 
>>>>> certainly not trying to cloud any issues, and I don't think that 
>>>>> arguing from authority (one's own assumed) dispels the clouds.  I 
>>>>> guess I simply don't have access to "a whole tradition of science."  
>>>>> :(
>>>>> To respond to your other message, yes, I am arguing that 
>>>>> consciousness (and thinking) are material processes. They are 
>>>>> consequences of (certain kinds of) matter in (certain kinds of) motion.
>>>>> Against whom am I arguing? I am arguing against all those 
>>>>> psychologists who argue that consciousness (and thinking) are 
>>>>> mental processes - processes which they believe take place in some 
>>>>> mysterious realm called "the mind" that is populated by "mental 
>>>>> representations" of the "world outside." I deal with people who 
>>>>> make this argument on a daily basis. They believe that the proper
> object of investigation for psychology is "mind,"
>>>>> and so they have no interest in setting, or culture, or practical 
>>>>> activities.
>>>>> Yes, Haydi's message is the portion of Crisis that I pointed to in 
>>>>> my last message.
>>>>> Martin