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



Martin

       As am I, but it is not so much your formulation as it is, more generally, 'how does one get there developmentally?' and where and what is "there." For instance, as Haydi put it is " is it a matter of leaps and bounds or gradients? and is, for instance, historical consciousness reflected in the microcosm of the individual?

Ed

On Nov 25, 2014, at  1:09 PM, Vera John-Steiner wrote:

> Martin,
> 
> I like your description of consciousness, but I am still struggling with how
> we get there developmentally.
> Vera
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Martin John Packer
> Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 9:40 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance
> 
> Hi Miguel,
> 
> I completely agree! When we think about consciousness we tend to focus on
> visual perception, but if we close our eyes and allow ourselves to focus on
> touch and hearing I think we gain a much clearer sense of the way that
> consciousness is an aspect of our way of being in the world, an aspect of
> how we live in the world, and how consciousness is a 'reaching out' and
> 'grasping' in the world in which we live.
> 
> Martin
> 
> On Nov 25, 2014, at 11:19 AM, Zavala, Miguel
> <mizavala@exchange.fullerton.edu> wrote:
> 
>> To chime in:
>> 
>> The new born is aware, quite aware. Consciousness does not inhere 
>> solely in the individual child. It is in the deliberate set of 
>> practices that bring the child into-the-world, a world that already is
> 'co-constructed'.
>> In Indigenous traditions such as Mayan (Popol Vuh), in the beginning 
>> there is "sound"--rather than light.  Why isn't consciousness also in 
>> the ebb and flow of sound, what the being-in-the-world already, pre- 
>> seeing, becomes?
>> 
>> There might be a tendency in much of our work to privilege light as 
>> consciousness; but what happens when we "see" things differently.  I 
>> am reminded of precepts in Liberation Theology, where care for the 
>> other precedes politics and art (See Enrique Dussel). In other words, 
>> ethics as primary activity, yes, even prior to "creativity" or 
>> "reason" as the distance and closing between "subject" and "object".
>> 
>> Miguel
>> 
>> On 11/25/14 4:54 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/ch0
>>>> 1a .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
>>>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>> 
>> 
> 
> 
>