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[Xmca-l] Re: FW: Re: Chomsky, Vygotsky, and phenomenology



[Please explain what 'more than matter' means. No one is claiming 'full understanding' of anything. We can only move toward a better understanding with science being a tool with its accepted limitations. Are suggesting
non-matter or metaphysics?]

Sorry, I mean by "matter+" means bodies with minds using tools in society within culture in various histories; not metaphysical at all.

[The fact that we cannot "fully" understand how all of this work is precisely the nativist position. Biologists and geneticists, and there is quite a bit of variation within are attempting to solve problems and make sense. They are doing interpretive work.]

Who is doing interpretive work? And can interpretive work connect to how processes are formed? Or is everyone interpreting and just defying past conventions like fashion? 

[Interesting, but how do we know she was 'sad'? How do you make the link to consciousness and agency? On a side note there is no way to replicate what Patterson has done with regard to Koko's development. Patterson has refused to make the protocols public. This is a problem for strict empiricists.] 

It's true that Koko has its own challenges, and I don't mean to promote Koko as a poster child for agency or consciousness, because there are many interpretations about agency and consciousness. I was just curious how Chomsky would explain this, and from your answers it appears it is all behaviorist conditioning. 

But I make the connection to consciousness and agency because she is the one electing to communicate what she wants to communicate. One really cool moment is when she takes Robin William's glasses and puts them on and then goes to her room to look out the window. No one told her to do that. That was an act of agency as far as I can tell, and that she could conceive to look out the window with his glasses is a conscious act. But that is me. I found that to be a truly spontaneous act that defies conditioning. It was an act of play, of discovery, of childlike curiosity!

[Interesting information, but how does this help us understand the nature of language differences?]

Well, it may explain that different environments will generate different problems and these problems will generate different activities and these will also generate different words and different vocabularies, even different languages. And as we can see there is much diversity in what humankind does, including the languages we speak. So I see a direct connection. Your mileage may vary!

[Silence would not constitute incompatibility. It could be 'incomplete' as Elinor Ochs argued years ago. To be fair, I have not seen this in any of Chomsky's writings nor am I aware of any nativist suggesting the non-importance of society, culture, and environment.  If so, can you point me to some sources where the importance of society, culture, and environment is dismissed. In fact, Chomsky cites the existence of many languages as proof of the importance of the environment, society, and culture.]

I did not mean to imply that silence was dismissal. But it is difficult to have a conversation with silence on one end of the conversation, you must admit. I didn't mean to imply any negativity, I only mean to reference the absence. 

[There is no evidence of this anywhere in the writings. If so, please provide a citation for further discussion.]

Sorry, this is not going to be cited anywhere, it is anecdotal. I was told he said this in a lecture. I can't substantiate this claim at all. But if it is the case, it certainly isn't going to be received well, you must agree. 

[The nativists would agree that science is interpretive grounded in principles with many unanswerable mysteries, including the nature, function, and purpose of language. They restrict their claims to that which can be publicly scrutinized and evaluated.]  

So I'm curious, can the activity and environment and tools and culture and history in which language is spoken be publicly scrutinized or not? Or do these remain metaphysical mysteries? Can or does language link to other aspects of human experience beyond speech? Or is everything interpretive with no basis? No rules? no patterns of emergence? Sorry, I really don't mean to be obtuse or rude. Just trying to understand.

Saying everything it interpretive is like saying everything is material. I'm not sure how far one can get with that. 

[Interesting take on Descartes and non-conformists. Any sources on this?]

Nope no sources. Well actually… I can say, I am the source, which may not qualify, but I suppose if this list is a publication, you may cite me! :) Has anyone said this elsewhere? I'm not sure. I'd be curious if it has been said before and would enjoy to speak to anyone who said it! :)

I don't think it's an unreasonable claim, when considering the social effects of surveillance, torture, and capital punishment and its effects upon intellectual freedom. I certainly don't feel I have damaged the legacy of Descartes at all. My assertion really is not to claim I can read Descartes's mind 450 years later, but only that history is a river of change and different measures are required to meet different challenges. I think he did a great thing to extricate the practice of science from the grip of the church.

Now how much he was aware of what he was doing, is a matter for the philosophers and the historians, I suppose. I'm only remarking on the effects of his assertions, which enabled the Scientific Revolution. 

[Not sure how this is known.]

Read the quote and then decide for yourself the context of that quote, who Descartes was, etc. You can certainly say I have interpreted the quote that way, and that would be true! We do know Descartes was terribly ironic. 

By the way, what do Chomskians say about irony anyway???

[If you reject Cartesian duality (at least in the literal form) then this isn't a problem, because it is all an integrated whole. Hence, the search for universals and 'whole language.' The mind is already united within the body (brain) and integrated with the environment. The separation is only imagined.] 

Well, whether you and I understand the separation to be imagined, that separation still exists in the minds of many people and practices today. It is an institutionalized imagination, which makes it a real problem based upon imaginings. My stance is (at this point) it's not about finding universals, because this is (to me) an ideal that can't be determined by language alone existing in a vacuum. I'm interested in what can be grounded in practice and in community. It's about understanding how language is used in contexts, relationships, and processes, and then determining what works in particular circumstances. 

[Maybe Camp Vygotsky and Camp Chomsky should go camping together.]

Possibly. We can talk s'mores!  :)

What I sense, however, is that the interpretive stance (if I am being fair in referencing that as the Chomskian stance) is not so attractive to Camp Vygotsky, and I suspect language within plural sociocultural contexts is not attractive to Camp Chomsky.

Maybe other Camper V's will pipe up and speak their minds on the matter+? 

Kind regards,

Annalisa