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[Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance [Language as a form]

David and Annalisa are conspiring to give great mash ups of science and art. Would it be fair to say that the good mash ups are creative projects? David’s Braque/Duchamp/Muybridge narrative was, like Duchamp’s visual narrative (of a nude descending), historical, but in different time scales. Might one call this collaborative mash up a fracticaling, discovering rich mappings between complex narratives at different temporal and spatial scales. Oh so distributed. 

> On Nov 29, 2014, at 2:58 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> Yes, Annalisa's right. Artists are groundhogs, that is, harbingers of
> the spring thaw, and her example of "The Yellow Wall Paper"
> prefiguring the idea of repression as a source of mental illness is
> particularly apposite (Freud's very blokish transformation of
> Charlotte Perkins Gilman's theme of professional frustration into
> sexual frustration had more bad art in it than bad science, but
> Leontiev's idea that the child plays only because we frustrate his
> desire to work is very similar). Even more often, though, artists are
> dragonflies; early indicators of the brief Russian autumn that usher
> in the long winter months. So for example I think that cubism really
> has little to do with Heisenberg and uncertainty, but it does have a
> lot to do with the the long and intellectually sterile domination of
> abstract objectivism (formalism, structuralism) in linguistics.
> Why should that be? Compare THIS:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Braque#mediaviewer/File:Violin_and_Candlestick.jpg
> And THIS:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nude_Descending_a_Staircase,_No._2#mediaviewer/File:Duchamp_-_Nude_Descending_a_Staircase.jpg
> You can see that both have the cubist idea (not the inability to fix
> both position and speed simultaneously, but the attempt to
> super-impose many different points of view on top of each other, like
> a kind of Galton photograph. Braque, however, applies the cubist idea
> to space, while Duchamp has the brilliant idea of applying it to time,
> and produces for us something very much like one of Muybridge's
> movies. In fact, almost identical!
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Female_nude_motion_study_by_Eadweard_Muybridge_(2).jpg
> Muybridge was exactly the kind of artist that Annalisa is talking
> about: a little bit of a scientist, or rather a technician. And it was
> actually Muybridge who demonstrated that for centuries artists hadn't
> seen what they were looking at but instead found what they were
> looking for. Today, with the first really good transcriptions and
> spectrographs of human voices talking, we can show that for centuries
> linguists haven't really heard what they were trying to listen to but
> instead found what they were listening for.
> Like most people on this list, I cannot match Larry's stunning
> erudition; I know Hackett only through Larry, and the height of the
> stack of books on my night-table which demand to be read when I have
> cleared away the reading I must do for my daily lectures forbids me
> any closer approach. I have, however, read a lot in the lchc archives,
> and I think that, rich as they are, there are themes left almost
> wholly unexplored, and this is one of them.
> Trotsky remarks in "Literature and Revolution" (a book that we now
> know had a big influence on Vygotsky) that art is man's expression of
> longing for all the things of which class society deprives us: a sense
> of harmony, a pride in creativity, a sensitivity to nuance, a feeling
> of empathy, and above all a sound foundation for hope in an apparently
> hopeless historical situation. The problem is that in this apparently
> hopeless historical situation when we express these things, their
> expression becomes a substitute for them, a purely abstract
> realization of them confined to precisely those of us who need them
> least, namely artists and scientists.
> Vygotsky's psychological theory, at least as I understand it, depends
> crucially on understanding the inadequacy of both heredity and the
> environment in solving the tasks of social development. Most of the
> twentieth century was wasted on the intuitively appealing but terribly
> wrong idea that since heredity is necessary but not sufficient to
> explain development and the environment is necessary but not
> sufficient to explain development if we somehow put them together we
> will get something that is both necessary and sufficient. That's
> exactly the kind of hope that is hard to resist, but retrospectively a
> complete non sequitur.
> Of course, as the material in the lchc archives (I am thinking of the
> wonderful work by people like Saxe and Hutchins) attests, culture
> gives the child legions of allies and a rich patrimony to solve the
> otherwise insuperable problem left by his biological and environmental
> endowment. But they also bring a whole new set of social and cultural
> conflicts, not all of which art has the power to resolve. For art to
> be more than a lightening rod, or a quack love elixir, for art to be
> able to do more than a poor (or rather a rich) substitute for the good
> life, artists will have to understand the inadequacy of art and even
> the inadequacy of individual emotion generally in the face of these
> new problems, these problems that inhere in the nature of society and
> culture itself. As Vygotsky says, art has to see itself as the
> socially derived technique of emotion rather than as a kind of
> individually derived social contagion.
> That's why, although I very much enjoyed hearing from Annalisa about
> her old professor and his lectures on models and modernisms (and I
> could add a few examples to his list), I think Annalisa's truest word
> of all is when she says that the best artist has to have a bit of a
> scientist in her, just as the best scientist has to be a bit of an
> artist. As Annalisa says, it's not so much a matter of being able to
> break down walls and build bridges between domains of knowledge,
> although replacing disciplinary walls with bridges is crucially
> important. It's a matter of being able to see and realize the very
> general in the individual (rather than vice-versa, which is the
> scientists' job). As Virginia Woolf said in her first movie reviews,
> if you want to see how little the eye can do without the brain (and
> how little the image accomplishes without the word), just go see the
> movie adaptation of your favorite novel,
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> PS: I think Andy has been pretty roundly misunderstood--we should all
> remember the great patience with which he waded through that awful
> article by Leontiev-- but perhaps sometimes Andy does underestimates
> the difference between an inter-disciplinary and a trans-disciplinary
> approach. When Andy calls activity theory an inter-disciplinary
> approach, he is pointing quite precisely to its greatest weakness:
> compare the way in which Vygotsky began to construct a
> transdisciplinary, THEMATIC approach to development by first
> EVISCERATING the word "pedology" of its content, the study of the
> eternal child. I think that an interdisciplinary approach is largely a
> call for more bridges, and the very bridges it constructs sometimes
> turn into walls.
> dk
> On 29 November 2014 at 23:58, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Annalisa,
>> I want to follow your thread and link it to my reflection on method and
>> disposition and also "modes":
>> My reading that is exploring the notion of *seeing as* as a path/disposition
>> You wrote:
>> "He showed us how it was that the themes and work of artists were
>> precursors to the work of scientific discovery."
>> In other words the aesthetic "mode" is "prior" to the scientific "mode".
>> Another perspective is they share the same images one not prior to the
>> other.
>> I want to return to Chris Hackett who is exploring the theme of methods and
>> modes.
>> He gives a description of the "transcendental mode" as method:
>> "The priority of possibility 'higher than actuality', defines the
>> 'metaphysics' of transcendental modes of thought where possibility and
>> rationality are identified; here, in the domain of metaphysics, abstracted
>> from existence, and seeking to 'replace' the ever-greater EXCESS of
>> existence with its own manageable, pre-conceived intelligibility [according
>> to science as 'tekne'], reason institutes itself as FIRST foundation;
>> nothing can APPEAR but what reason defines as POSSIBLE." [Hackett, page 65
>> in Method, Metaphysics, Metaphor]
>> Annalisa, this quote is Hackett's attempt to situate a particular mode of
>> reasoning as transcendental and if following this path a transcendental
>> disposition.
>> Now I want to bring in a central concept - "image" or appearance that
>> circulates within this mode of reason. It is Schelling who is exploring the
>> relation of possibility and actuality.
>> Here is quote from Chris Hackett developing Hackett's interpretation
>> of Schelling's reasoning on reason:
>> "Yet, 'reason' as Schelling pleaded, is not possible as totally
>> 'indifferent' to existence, which is sovereignly free from all subjective
>> CONSTITUTION, and which already founds the world. Reason requires existence
>> ... for it is only AS AN IMAGE, imbued with the life of existence, bearing
>> that existence as its primal expression, manifesting the ACT of existence
>> that things are, that reason WORKS. To the degree that existence EXCEEDS
>> reason, and therefore, to the degree that reason NEEDS AN IMAGE as *pre*
>> and *post*-rationally DETERMINATIVE of intelligibility, to that degree
>> reason is rational"
>> Annalisa, Chris Hackett is situating both the aesthetic and the scientific
>> in modes and methods which centrally need IMAGES. [appearances]. These
>> modes and relations are indicating dispositions towards possibility and
>> actuality.  A particular mode follows the path of the transcendental and
>> values *possibility* as a metaphysical path.
>> Another approach [path] values existence as EXCESS.  What is *excess*
>> exists within acts of existence, as relational acts.
>> To the degree that existence EXCEEDS reason, is the degree that reason
>> NEEDS AN IMAGE [an appearance] as DETERMINATIVE of intelligibility.
>> The path Chris Hackett is walking is leading to the centrality of tying
>> meta-phor & meta-physics & meta-hodos [meta-knowledge] into an interpretive
>> mode situated within questions.
>> [I was wondering if I should have started a new thread? to post this answer
>> to Annalisa. It is touching and overlapping previous turns in the
>> conversation.]
>> On Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 9:39 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
>>> If I may, to all and sundry,
>>> I recall in a course called Methodologies of Modernism, as an art student,
>>> there was one fantastic lecture by my humanities professor Ray Mondini. He
>>> showed us how it was that the themes and work of artists were precursors to
>>> the work of scientific discovery. There were about eight different examples
>>> he gave. Unfortunately I do not remember them all. I recall The Yellow
>>> Wallpaper came just before Freud's solidifying work on repression and the
>>> unconscious. Cubism came just before Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.
>>> The others I don't remember. It made me see that artists are very capable
>>> of either catching the zietgeist of thought and reifying it in their art,
>>> which might then direct the attention of scientists, or perhaps something
>>> more ethereal is going on, not spiritual, but something more subtle on the
>>> social plane of historical existence. A similar phenomenon in kind when
>>> Darwin and Wallace came up with their versions of the theory of evolution,
>>> but in that case it seems it is because they'd both read a book by Malthus
>>> on populations, so they shared similar inspiration from the same source.
>>> So I'm inclined to stand by David on this trans-disciplinary position.
>>> However I don't think it's about weak versus strong frames. I see it
>>> differently. For artists, they see the world from the general to the
>>> specific. For scientists, they see the world from the specific to the
>>> general. Of course these "laws" I have observed in thinking patterns vis a
>>> vis scientists and artists are not hard and fast, but that is my lived
>>> experience.
>>> To be an artist is to be a scientist in terms of form and color, tone and
>>> texture. But artists are not attempting to discover new worlds of material,
>>> they are searching for new worlds of meaning through testing the material.
>>> I haven't worked closely with scientists, however we know from Einstein his
>>> position on visualization and imagination. This presents me with a personal
>>> hypothesis, if I'm allowed to engender a personal one, that the best
>>> artists are ones with a bit of the scientist in them, and the best
>>> scientists are ones with a bit of the artist in them. Not sure how to
>>> quantify that exactly, except perhaps through play.
>>> If anyone wants to know what lays ahead in scientific discovery, one thing
>>> to do is bone up on what the art scene is, because they are experimenting
>>> on the same thoughts as scientists, just from the top-down. A starting
>>> point is by perusing magazines like Art Forum, ARTnews, Art in America, Art
>>> Review, and others. I'm sure you can find themes that resonate and run
>>> parallel.
>>> Just follow your nose.
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Annalisa
>>> ________________________________________
>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> on behalf of HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com>
>>> Sent: Friday, November 28, 2014 5:04 PM
>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance [Language as a form]
>>> Hi David,
>>> Sorry I’m way behind. Respectfully:
>>> Would it be fair to say that science needs art if both are to be creative?
>>> And that time and space are prototypical themes in both art and science?
>>> So, a 2-by-2 matrix with prototypical examples of the mash up in each
>>> quadrant. Just a thought.
>>> Henry
>>>> On Nov 27, 2014, at 3:00 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> I too liked Huw's comments, but for rather different reasons than his
>>>> compelling defense of what Basil Bernstein calls "strongly framed,
>>>> strongly classified" categories of knowledge. What I liked is the way
>>>> that he brought in Dickens, simultaneously enriching and undermining
>>>> his argument.
>>>> On the one hand, Dickens is the ultimate in blokish writers (I can't
>>>> think of a single likeable or even bearable female character in the
>>>> whole of his oeuvre). On the other, Dickens will begin a book (e.g.
>>>> "Hard Times") with a clear list of characters he intends to slate
>>>> (utilitarians and political economists) and then he'll attribute views
>>>> to them that are really quite the opposite of what they hold (real
>>>> utilitarians and political economists actually agreed with Mr. Sleary
>>>> that work is a curse and that "The people mutht be amuthed"). So in
>>>> addition to being a blokish writer, Dickens is a bit of an
>>>> intellectual slob (as opposed to a snob): a masher-together-er, to put
>>>> it more charitably.
>>>> But by bringing in Dickens I think Huw also brings in the
>>>> aesthetic--and even the ethical. And here what Huw says about strongly
>>>> framed and strongly classified (or "technical") categories of
>>>> knowledge is much less compelling. I have been arguing for a
>>>> perspective that is "trans-disciplinary" rather than
>>>> "inter-disciplinary", where inquiries into art and into science alike
>>>> can be based on themes like quantity, history and structure rather
>>>> than narrowly defined according to objects of study such as matter,
>>>> living things, society and consciousness; it seems to me that if
>>>> strongly framed and strongly classified categories of knowledge must
>>>> predominate in scientific categories (else it is hard to see how the
>>>> hiearchical structures Vygotsky sees as essential to science concepts
>>>> can emerge) then weakly framed and weakly classified categories of
>>>> knowlede necessarily predominate in aesthetic ones, and even in
>>>> ethical ones (which I believe are closely related).
>>>> We are reaching the end of the semester in my class on immersion
>>>> education, in which I adopted a syllabus idea I stole from Carol
>>>> Macdonald, to wit, that immersion classes might begin with classes
>>>> like Physical Education, Music and Mathematics (where word meaning is
>>>> not a central concern) and only end with classes like (Natural)
>>>> Science, Social Science and Ethics. That means that this week my
>>>> students are preparing immersion classes in ethics. One of my students
>>>> contested the idea that ethical education was for higher grades only,
>>>> so I asked her when she thought ethics education should begin.
>>>> She said that ethics education really begins with a mother holding a
>>>> newborn infant. On my way home from class, I thought of Martin's work
>>>> on the prisoner's dilemma, and how it fit, quite despite itself, into
>>>> a whole tradition of neo-Kohlbergian ethics education. And I was
>>>> reminded of Carol Gilligan's and Nel Noddings' critique of
>>>> Kohlberg--the critique that by emphasizing the autonomous individual
>>>> above the relational one, and "justice" above "caring", Kohlberg had
>>>> constructed a blokish ethics, for gentlemen only. It is also an ethics
>>>> for small businessmen rather than young mothers and teachers: Mr.
>>>> Sleary and his creator would have been amuthed.
>>>> David Kellogg
>>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>>> On 27 November 2014 at 20:46, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>>> I have been reading McLellan's "new abridgement" of Capital recently.
>>>>> Probably my most powerful impression is the prevalence of the conditions
>>>>> Marx documents.  Unlike writers of fiction today, it is quite clear to
>>> me
>>>>> that his contemporary, Dickens, was barely required to lift a few
>>> stones to
>>>>> find the extremes of luck, fate and chance that he also portrays.  A
>>>>> second, more palliative, impression is the documentation of the source
>>> of
>>>>> so many of the problems arising in working conditions that remain with
>>> us
>>>>> today, albeit in more 'civilised' form.
>>>>> Regarding 'muscularity', I find it interesting to consider how technical
>>>>> utterances and work-a-day competences do tend to carry a certain kind of
>>>>> muscularity in a literal sense of holding steady.  To be technical is
>>> to be
>>>>> precise under varying conditions in which one holds those conditions
>>> steady
>>>>> and it is normal to hear technical discourse with some degree of
>>>>> articulatory stress and moderate facial tension etc.  Under such
>>>>> circumstances, one doesn't merely pile up the words in additive form
>>> but is
>>>>> concerned with their configuration and placement.
>>>>> On the business of the objectivity of consciousness and focal
>>> distinction
>>>>> between the experience of consciousness and that which yields it, I
>>> think
>>>>> we can make the same statement about any scientifically studied
>>> phenomena.
>>>>> We are not aware of the internally manifest form of any kind of internal
>>>>> calculus undertaken by a studied system, yet we may study it from
>>> without
>>>>> (with meter readings etc) and perform equivalent calculations and follow
>>>>> the transformations taking place.  Alternatively, we can study that
>>>>> calculus as a system itself, which will have, again, its own internal
>>>>> manifestation.  That's how we come to improve our approximations...
>>>>> Best,
>>>>> Huw