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[Xmca-l] Re: Imagination

the kind of metaphor which I find most interesting is the metaphorical use of prepositions like:
- "there is some value IN your argument"
- "I'd like to go OVER that again"
- "I'd don't see what is BEHIND that line of thinking"
- "Let's go THROUGH that again"

and so on.
*Andy Blunden*

larry smolucha wrote:
Message from Francine Smolucha:

Forgive me for replying to myself -

In regard to combinatory imagination and the synergistic possibilities:

In the Genetic Roots of Thought and Speech (1929) published in Thought
and Speech (1934) [or Thought and Language as translated into English 1962]
Vygotsky discussed how word meaning is more than the 'additive' value of the
two components (the sensory-motor thought and the speech vocalization).
He used the analogy of H2O in which two chemical elements that are flammable
gases combine to produce water, which is neither flammable nor a gas.

[Just a note for Newcomers - in the early 20th century European Developmental
Psychologists used the word 'genetic' to mean 'developmental' hence the
Developmental Roots of Thought and Speech or in the case of Piaget's Genetic
Epistemology read as Developmental Epistemology.

And to those XMCARs who mentioned earlier synthesis and synthesis based on
metaphoric thinking - definitely - we even see this in Vygotsky's example of H2O.

From: lsmolucha@hotmail.com
To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:18:07 -0600
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Imagination

Message from Francine Smolucha:

Combinatory or recombinative imagination could be synergistic
and produce something new that is more than the sum of the parts.
It does not have to mean that "imagination is nothing more than the
recombining of concrete experiences, nothing really new can ever be imagined"
(David Kellogg's most recent email.)

A couple things to consider:

(1) Sensory perception involves some element of imagination as the brain has
to organize incoming data into a pattern (even at the simplest level of the Gestalt
Law of Closure or Figure/Ground Images).
(2) Memories themselves are reconstructed and not just photographic.

(3) The goal of reproductive imagination (memory) is to try to accurately reproduce
the sensory-motor experience of some external event. Whereas, the goal of combinatory
imagination is to create something new out of memories, dreams, musings, and even
sensory motor activity involving the actual manipulation of objects and symbols.

(4) I think it would be useful to think of the different ways that things and concepts can be
combines. For example, I could just combine salt and sugar and flour.
                                           I can add water and it dissolves a bit
                                           But adding heat changes the combination into a pancake.
                        [Is this synergistic?]

              Sorry I have to go now - I am thinking of more examples to put the discussion
              in the metaphysical realm.
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:05:49 +0900
From: dkellogg60@gmail.com
To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Imagination

Let me--while keeping within the two screen limit--make the case for
Vygotsky's obsession with discrediting associationism. I think it's not
just about mediation; as Michael points out, there are associationists who
are willing to accept that a kind of intermediary associationism exists and
some mediationists who are willing to accept that as mediation. Vygotsky
has far more in mind. How do we, without invoking religion, explain the
uniqueness of our species?

Is it just the natural egocentrism that every species feels for its own
kind? From an associationist point of view, and from a Piagetian
perspective--and even from a strict Darwinian one--true maturity as a
species comes with acknowledging that there is nothing more to it than
that: we are simply a singularly maladaptive variety of primate, and our
solemn temples and clouded towers are but stones piled upon rocks in order
to hide this. The value of our cultures have to be judged the same way as
any other adaptation: in terms of survival value.

Making the case for the higher psychological functions and for language is
not simply a matter of making a NON-religious case human exceptionalism.
It's also, in a strange way, a way of making the case for the vanguard role
of the lower classes in human progress. For other species, prolonging
childhood is giving hostages to fortune,and looking after the sick and the
elderly is tantamount to suicide. But because artificial organs (tools) and
even artificial intelligences (signs) are so important for our species, it
is in the societies and the sectors of society where these "circuitous,
compensatory means of development" are most advanced that lead our
development as a species. The wretched of the earth always been short on
rocks and stones to pile up and on the wherewithal for material culture
generally. But language and ideology is quite another matter: verily, here
the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

I think the idea of imagination is a distal form of attention is simply the
logical result of Ribot's model of imagination: he says there are only two
kinds of imagination: reproductive, and recombinative. So imagination is
nothing more than the recombination of concrete experiences, and nothing
really new can ever be imagined. But as Vygotsky says, when you hear the
name of a place, you don't have to have actually been there to be able to
imagine it. So there must be some artificial memory at work in word meaning.

You probably know the hoary old tale about Archimedes, who was given a
crown of gold and who discovered that the gold had been mixed with silver
by measuring the displacement of an equivalent quantity of gold. Well, we
now know that this method doesn't actually work: it's not possible to
measure the differences in water displacement that precisely. The method
that Archimedes actually used was much closer to the "principal of
buoyancy" which Vygotsky always talks about.

And how do we know this? Because of the Archimedes palimpsest, a velum on
which seven texts were written at right angles to each other. Because
parchment was so expensive, the velum was scraped and written over every
century or so, but because the skin it was made of was soft, the pressure
of the writing preserved the older texts below the new ones when the old
text was scraped off. And one of the lower texts is the only known Greek
copy of Archimedes' "On Floating Bodies".

Neither the relationship of these texts to meaning nor their relationship
to each other is a matter of association (and in fact they are related to
each other by a kind of failed dissociation). But it's quite similar to the
way that word meanings are reused and develop anew.

(Did I do it? Is this two screens?)

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 16 December 2014 at 14:24, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:
I meant to ask: What does it mean that Ribot, as an associationist, “sees
imagination as a rather distal form of attention”?

On Dec 15, 2014, at 5:19 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

On the one hand, Ribot is really responsible for the division between
higher and lower psychological functions. On the other, because Ribot is
associationist, he sees imagination as a rather distal form of attention.
And, as Mike says, he does associate it with the transition from forest
farm, so in that sense he is responsible for the division between the two
great periods of semio-history: the literal and commonsensical world of
forest where attention has to be harnessed to fairly prosaic uses in life
and death struggles for existence, and the much more "imaginative" (that
is, image based) forms of attention we find in the world of the
written accounts (e.g. calendars) are kept, where long winter months are
wiled away with fables, and we are much more likely to encounter talking
animals (but much more rarely talking plants!). Here attention has to be
more voluntary.

Vygotsky rejects all this, of course. I think he has a very clear
understanding of the kind of Rousseauvian romanticism that underpins
here, but above all he rejects associationism. Vygotsky points out the
LOGICAL flaw in Ribot's argument: if these productive practices  really
the true source of volitional attention and thus of imagination, there
isn't any reason to see a qualitative difference between human and animal
imagination, because of course animals are perfectly capable of
attention (and in some ways are better at it than humans). Without a
of the difference language makes, there isn't any basis for Ribot's
distinction between higher and lower psychological functions at all.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 16 December 2014 at 01:02, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
Lots of interesting suggestions of new kinds of imagination, thanks to
for the food for thought.

Ribot, not Robot, Henry. He was apparently very influential around the
emprical psychology got going in the late 19th century. I had seen work
memory before, but not imagination.

Robert-  Does generative = productive and reflective equal reproductive?
Overall I am pondering how to link up empirical studies of development
imagination to these various categories --- The cost of being a relative
newcomer to the topic.

On Sun, Dec 14, 2014 at 10:19 PM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com>
Forgive me coming late to this! Robot is now on my bucket list. This
business of movement recycles our cross-modal musings from some weeks
our metaphorizing. (I just got an auto spell correct that segmented the
last two words of the previous sentence as “met aphorizing”. Puns,
according to my Wikipedia is a kind of metaphor. :)

On Dec 14, 2014, at 10:57 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

Andy- It was the Russians who pointed me toward Kant and they are
contemporary work in which they claim Vygotsky and his followers as an
inspiration. Some think that LSV was influenced by Hegel, so its of
interesting to see those additional categories emerge.

19th Century psychological vocabulary, especially in translation,
awfully slippery territory to me. The word, "recollection" in this
for example, is not a currently used term in counter distinction to
Normal problems. There are serious problems in contemporary discourse
across languages as our explorations with out Russian colleagues have

That said, I feel as if I am learning something from theorists who
influenced Vygotsky and early psychology -- when it was still possible
include culture in it.

Ribot has a book called "Creative Imagination" which, interestingly
imagination to both movement and the meaning of a "voluntary" act.
it are offputting, primitives thinking like children stuff that was
"in the air" for example. But at present the concepts of creativity
imagination are thoroughly entangled, so its curious to see that the
concepts are linked.

Just cause its old doesn't mean its useless, he found himself writing.

Its difficult, of course, to know the extent to which pretty old
to a pesum

On Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 4:39 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
I know we want to keep this relatively contemporary, but it may be
noting that Hegel's Psychology also gave a prominent place to
in the section on Representation, mediating between Recollection and
Memory. He structured Imagination as (1) Reproductive Imagination,
Associative Imagination (3) Productive Imagination, which he says
the Sign, which he describes as Productive Memory. In other words,
transition from immediate sensation to Intellect is accomplished
these three grades of Imagination.


*Andy Blunden*

mike cole wrote:

Here are some questions I have after reading Strawson and Williams.

Kant et al (including Russian developmentalists whose work i am
mine for empirical
strategies and already-accumulated results) speak of productive
imagination. The Russians write that productive imagination
At first I thought that the use of productive implies that there
be a
kind of ​imagination called UNproductive imagination. But I learned
instead the idea of RE-productive imagination appears and is linked

So, it seems that imagination is an ineluctable part of anticipation
Imagine that!

On Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com

Strawson provides a long view historically on imagination (starting
Hume and Kant), Williams a more contemporaneous look, and provides
for imagination not afforded by the socio-cultural as fixed. This,
with Pelaprat and Cole on Gap/Imagination, gives me a ground to
in the thread on imagination. Of course, I start with
on creative collaboration and the cognitive grammarian Langacker on
symbolic assemblies in discourse and cognitive domains,
temporal. Everyday discourse, it seems to me, is full of
creativity. I am terribly interested in two aspects of temporality:
sequence and rhythm (including tempo and rhythmic structure), which
must both figure in imagination and creativity, for both individual
distributed construals of cognition and feeling.

On Dec 13, 2014, at 12:01 PM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Henry, Mike, and others interested in this topic.

I too see the affinities with notions of the third *space* and the


to *gap-filling*
I am on holiday so limited access to internet.
However, I wanted to mention Raymond Williams and his notion of


of feeling" that David K references. This notion is explored under
notion of historical *styles* that exist as a *set* of modalities

together.  This notion suggests there is a form of knowing that is


but has not yet formed [but can be "felt" [perceived??] if we
imaginatively.  Raymond explores the imaginal as *style*
On Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 4:38 PM, HENRY SHONERD <

Mike and Larry,
I promise to read your profer, but just want to say how jazzed up
about this thread. My mind has been going wild, the mind as Larry
it. I ended up just now with a triad, actually various triads,
found my old friend Serpinski. Part now of my notebooks of the
mind, as
Vera would construe it. I’ll be back! Gap adentro, luega pa’
Fractally yours,

On Dec 12, 2014, at 5:09 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

For those interested in the imagination thread, attached are two

by philosophers who have worried about the issue.
My current interest stems from the work of CHAT theorists like


and his students who studied the development of imagination in a
that, it turns out, goes back to Kant's notion of productive

imagination. I

am not advocating going back to Kant, and have no intention of
But these ideas seem worth pursuing as explicated in the attached
Through reading the Russians and then these philosophers, I came
idea that perception and imagination are very closely linked at
levels of analysis. This is what, in our naivete, Ettienne and I


our paper on imagination sent around earlier as a means of
work of the blind-deaf psychologist, Alexander Suvorov. Moreover,
views emphasize the future orientation of the
process. I believe that these views have direct relevance to
to be found on the KrisRRQ thread, and also speak to concerns
role of different forms of symbolic play in development.

So here are the papers on the imagination thread. Perhaps they
useful for those interested.

It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science
with an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
<Imagination and Perception by P.F. Strawson.pdf>

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

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