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[Xmca-l] Re: Volkelt's diagram (LSV's HMF Vol 4)



Huw, Greg, Larry:

Austin, at least as understand him, is entirely interested in
performatives: that is, speech acts in which the making of a structure (eg.
"I promise") is actually constitutive of some pragmatic function. That's
really not what I had in mind at all, Huw. First of all, I'm interested in
development, and performatives are few and ar between at both ends of the
developmental continuum (for infants, language is more often ancillary than
constitutive and in adults some of the most developmentally important uses
of language are not public at all). Secondly, I don't think that Austin's
various felicity conditions are relevant to, say, negation: what does it
mean to say that only a person who is empowered to negate can validly
perform the function of negation? And thirdly--most importantly--I think
that what Austin has in mind is only structure and not system. But perhaps
I am an unenthusiastic and thus a rather poor reader of Austin: he always
struck me as a thinly disguised social-behaviorist.

Neither Halliday nor Jakobson really came up with the
paradigmatic/syntagmatic distinction, Greg: it goes back to de Saussure.
But de Saussure  called his paradigmatic dimension "associative", and this
placed him firmly in associationist psychology. Associationism really has
no room for the development of free will, and Halliday's notion of "system"
requires it. A selection requires a selector. And language development is,
in Vygotskyan psychology, about the development of the selector. In HDHMF,
for example, Vygotsky actually says that the most important and most
fundamental problem in the whole of psychology is that of Buridan's donkey.

Consider a four panel cartoon--the sort of thing you see on the comics page
of a paper. If we "read" the cartoon horizontally, we get an essentially
syntagmatic relation--the default reading is that the events of the second
panel transpire after those of the first, and the events of the third after
the second, etc.  But within each panel, we find drawings of bodies
(doing), faces (feeling), thought "bubbles" (thinking) and speech balloons
(saying). These CAN be syntagmatically related but they can also be
simultaneous, and if you are a Vygotskyan, hierarchically related (doing
may control feeling and feeling control thinking, and--in volition--we can
even imagine the very opposite chain of command).

Now, imagine a poetics in which these planes are related not only
hierarchically but paradigmatically. That is, a novel COULD be written as a
set of more or less simultaneous doings (a historical novel). But it could
also be written as feelings (a sentimental novel), as thinkings (a novel of
ideas) or as sayings (a novel of conversation). All of these are quite
different from organizing a story along the syntagmatic axis, which would
make it not a novel but an adventure story (here in France, the word for
novel is "roman" and--confusingly--the word for an adventure story is
"nouvelle", but back home in Korea novels are noun more descriptively as
"little talk"). I think that one of the important differences between
novels and adventure stories is precisely that the specific weight of
the environment and of individual volition are reversed, and the way this
is often realized is through a stress on syntagmatic, temporal relations in
the adventure story and on paradigmatic, projective relations in the novel.

I don't think that meaning potential can be entirely explained as "presence
of absence", Larry, because linguistic systems are not always binary, and
even when they are, they tend to generate options within options rather
than absence of presence (language abhors a vaccuum). Take, for example,
intonation. We could argue that there are only two options: up or down. But
in fact, we often find down-up ("RE-A-LLY?") and updown ('RE-A-LLY!"), and
there is also a fairly flat, neutral intonation ("'Really. Interesting.").
If I come to a branch in the road and go left instead of right, the right
fork in the road doesn't thereby cease to exist, even in my mind.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University



On Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 1:11 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
wrote:

> David,
> Just wondering if Halliday is getting this from Roman Jakobson's
> syntagmatic vs. paradigmatic contrast?
> If so, then I'm wondering what happened to the notion of poetics in
> Halliday's thought. Poetical patterning seems absolutely essential to
> language learning, but I'd also tend to think of poetics as less than
> entirely volitional.
> Or to put the question more plainly, can you provide a little more nuance
> to your statement:
> "The problem of grammar can be seen as aproblem of volitional choice, and
> what needs to be explained in language development is the same thing that
> needs to be explained in other branches of Vygotskyan psychology, namely
> the emergence of free will"
> -greg
>
>
> On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 10:28 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Huw:
> >
> > I'm using meaning potential in a somewhat technical, Hallidayan, sense.
> For
> > Halliday every utterance has both structure and system. Structure we know
> > about: it's syntagmatic, in the sense that it is laid out one step at a
> > time (in time with speech and in space with writing). It's non-Markovian,
> > in the sense that each step has some influence on the next steps and not
> > simply on the next step (e.g.if you start a sentence with "the" you are
> > going to need noun pretty soon, but not necessarily right away).
> >
> > For example, if I find myself saying
> >
> > "The artist David Bowie was not a chameleon; he just hired a lot of
> > different poorly paid adjuncts to write his songs"
> >
> > My argument is laid out one step at a time: "The" and then "artist" and
> > then "David" and then "Bowie" and then "was" (not "is", because of his
> > death), etc.
> >
> > System is a little different. First of all, it's paradigmatic, in the
> sense
> > that it can be thought of as  kind of drop-down menu. It's a free choice,
> > in the sense that although context will favor certain "canonical" choices
> > over others, I can create contexts (and that is what writers of verbal
> art
> > do). Each choice overlaps with a finite (often only two or three) number
> of
> > choices not chosen. In this way "system" combines free will with
> > cultural-historical determination.
> >
> > For example, if I find myself saying "The artist David Bowie" when I get
> to
> > the noun "artist" I could say "singer" or even "celebrity" but the choice
> > is not infinite, particularly if I look at probability and not just
> > possibility. Even with proper nouns, in place of "Bowie" I could say
> > "Kellogg" or even "Cameron" but the number of choices is distinctly
> > limited. I could have said "is", but Bowie's death makes "was" more
> > canonical; by choosing "not", I am choosing from only two choices
> (because
> > an indicative clause can be either positive or negative in polarity but
> not
> > both and not anything else) and yet by choosing the negative I am
> probably
> > saying something that goes against 99% of what will be said about Bowie
> in
> > the days to come.
> >
> > This set of many small choices (some of which, like polarity, are highly
> > skewed in probability) is not only true at the level of words, it is also
> > true at the level of wording: I can choose to make a major or minor
> clause;
> > if major, I can choose to make an imperative or an indicative; if
> > indicative, I can go declarative or interrogative, etc. Each utterance
> > represents a kind of a path through an indefinite number of systems, each
> > of which is a kind of menu providing a finite number of choices, and this
> > is what makes language both infinitely complex and in practice easy to
> use.
> >
> > There are three important consequences of this somewhat technical use of
> > "meaning potential". First of all, the problem of grammar can be seen as
> a
> > problem of volitional choice, and what needs to be explained in language
> > development is the same thing that needs to be explained in other
> branches
> > of Vygotskyan psychology, namely the emergence of free will. Secondly,
> the
> > choices that the speaker makes are made significant (made meaningful) not
> > simply by pointing to context (this is really only true of infant
> language)
> > but instead by all the choices that the speaker did NOT make but COULD
> HAVE
> > made (this "could have" prevents the theory from dualism--the ideal is
> > simply the potentially real). And thirdly, finally, meaning potential is
> > always linked to but distinct from meaning proper precisely in the sense
> of
> > NON-participation: meaning potential is simply the road not taken.
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University
> >
> > On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 11:05 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > >From what I have been reading and thinking, the biggest difference
> > between
> > > the conceptual system presented by Vygotsky and the of Leontiev (most
> of
> > > which is well known) is the difference of the conceptualisation of
> > activity
> > > or the symbolic level (which is mostly absent for Vygotsky).
> > >
> > > Without necessarily refuting David's points, but indicating an
> > alternative
> > > interpretation, I would say:
> > >
> > > 1. Learning how to apply or use something is still a constructive act.
> > One
> > > does not have to understand the full technical make up of a component
> in
> > > order to make use of it.  Indeed this is would entail an infinite
> > regress.
> > >
> > > 2. I'm not fully clear what the assertion is with respect to active
> > > participation in meaning potential, but it is perfectly reasonable to
> > > revisit the problem space that an old artefact is drawn from only to
> > > rediscover what this product achieves in terms of design.  This is
> > actually
> > > an excellent source of edification.
> > >
> > > 3. Contemplation can be understood to be in response to an active
> > problem.
> > > There is nothing to say that activity must be glued to a specific site.
> > > When I am programming, I am forever walking away from the computer to
> > solve
> > > or express a particular problem.
> > >
> > > Best,
> > > Huw
> > >
> > >
> > > On 13 January 2016 at 10:02, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Dear Haydi:
> > > >
> > > > In the very beginning of the text that Huw is reading, the HIstory of
> > the
> > > > Development of the Higher Psychic Functions, Vygotsky writes of the
> > basic
> > > > division psychology, between those who would treat the mind as
> > something
> > > > made by "Deus Sive Natura" ("God, i.e. Nature"), like the eye or the
> > hand
> > > > or any other physical phenomenon, and those who would treat the mind
> as
> > > (to
> > > > quote Mike's epigraph) an object which itself creates history. In one
> > > case,
> > > > we have an object which really can be usefully described
> synoptically,
> > > like
> > > > a sculpture that we can walk all the way around. But in the other we
> > > have a
> > > > process which can only be described dynamically, like a piece of
> > theatre
> > > > that walks around us while we sit and observe.
> > > >
> > > > Of course, we CAN argue, the way that Vico would argue, that to
> produce
> > > the
> > > > process is to fully understand it: we cannot fully understand the eye
> > or
> > > > the hand, because although these things are part of us, they were
> made
> > by
> > > > God. We can understand a telescope or a hammer, because although
> these
> > > > things are not part of us, they were made by ourselves. And we can
> even
> > > > argue that the process of making it is essentially the process of
> > > > understanding it: once you have made a telescope or a hammer and used
> > it,
> > > > you have understood everything there is to know about it. That is, I
> > > > understand it, the position you attribute to dialectical logic, to
> > CHAT,
> > > > and to Davydov, and I think you attribute it correctly. The problem
> is
> > > that
> > > > I am not sure that the position itself is correct.
> > > >
> > > > The reason is this: we may be able to actively participate in the
> > process
> > > > of producing and using a telescope or a hammer. We may even (although
> > > this
> > > > is much more problematic) actively participate in the process of
> > > producing
> > > > and using a mind or a personality. But our observational standpoint
> is
> > > > nevertheless fixed by our position in time: we can never "actively
> > > > participate" in constructing the counterfactual potential, the
> meaning
> > > > potential, of a telescope or a hammer, much less a mind or a
> > personality.
> > > > Our active participation is always fixed in the actual, and meaning
> > > > potential is accessible only through contemplation. It may be
> > > contemplation
> > > > with activity firmly in mind, but it is only potentially active and
> not
> > > > actually so.
> > > >
> > > > I think this is a fundamental difference between Vygotsky and
> Leontiev,
> > > and
> > > > the activity theory that followed him: For Vygotsky, the autistic
> > > function
> > > > (that is, the irrealist function, the contemplative function which
> > turns
> > > > away from immediate activity) may come late (as Vygotsky points out,
> it
> > > > receives major impetus from the acquisition of words and then
> concepts,
> > > > both of which come well after the beginning of social life), but this
> > > > "autistic" contemplative function is then never out of date: concepts
> > are
> > > > not formed purely through activity, but also through the turning away
> > > from
> > > > reality oriented activity. And in that, he has the complete support
> of
> > > > Lenin, who knew a thing or two about how concepts are joined to
> action.
> > > >
> > > > David Kellogg
> > > > Macquarie University
> > > >
> > > > On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 12:06 AM, <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>
> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Thanks , David , for the two-parag. epigraph as always !
> > > > >
> > > > > --First of all, Kant says we cannot know / cognize a material
> object
> > in
> > > > > itself because a priori we don't have an image of it so  we are
> > unable
> > > to
> > > > > have an overlap between the two ; hence agnosticism let alone
> 'inner
> > > > > connections' of a whole as 'moments' . Dialectical Logic (close
> > > relative
> > > > to
> > > > > CHAT) says as man relies on object-related activity while an ideal
> > > > > adaptable to the future coming object ever runs through the
> activity
> > to
> > > > the
> > > > > finish , is able to penetrate the depths . When you put the mental
> > > model
> > > > > into a material model , in reifying or objectifying that model
> into a
> > > > > finished product and all through the durational time , you can see
> > what
> > > > is
> > > > > necessary , essential and what is not . In higher momentums of
> > > > conception ,
> > > > > you reach concepts and this is the time you've got a theoretical
> > > rational
> > > > > cognitive copy of the inner mechanisms and transformations of the
> > > related
> > > > > object or objects . When we say 'ideal' is a moment of an activity
> ,
> > we
> > > > > mean it's ever running through uninterruptedly because the whole
> > entity
> > > > > falls down , collapses otherwise . Or if you aim to take it wholly
> > > apart
> > > > ,
> > > > > again nothing is left for objectfication . Davydov says we cannot
> > stop
> > > at
> > > > > phenomenology ; it's not to our will or taste ; we should ever
> > > reproduce
> > > > > our ever changing needs and products and that needs true science
> and
> > > true
> > > > > science needs true concepts . Yes , we want the object to move
> > > > (dynamicity)
> > > > > according to its inner transformations (moments) which has come to
> us
> > > as
> > > > > fixated knowledge in speech and skills historically . We don't want
> > to
> > > be
> > > > > stuck in our position observing it to move . If you take moments as
> > > > moments
> > > > > of your positioning while observing , you've not been able to
> convert
> > > > those
> > > > > phenomenal aspects (empiricism) into innermost movements hence
> > > > agnosticism
> > > > > prevails . Yes ,  We could somehow treat these moments as always
> > > > inhering ,
> > > > > how ? Are neoformations parts and parcels of some detachable
> > > independent
> > > > > separate phnomenon ? Are they not fused , interwoven , intertwined
> > > > moments
> > > > > of inner mechanisms of whole development (internalization ,
> > > > appropriation ,
> > > > > instruction , development , upbringing involved) ? Does development
> > or
> > > > even
> > > > > periods of development contain , include some parts and parcels or
> do
> > > > they
> > > > > subsume some moments of developmental transformations , those
> moments
> > > > still
> > > > > sublated within the whole process reversible if development
> defects ?
> > > > >
> > > > > --Secondly , we agreed that moment is different from the instance
> as
> > we
> > > > > took it as tokens , samples , etc. Everything began with the very
> > fact
> > > .
> > > > >
> > > > > --Thirdly , with what I said , I suppose you've been responded to .
> > Our
> > > > > focus is on moment as some (aspect as you say ; I first refrained
> > from
> > > > > using 'aspectual' because aspect , too , does not convey the
> > intention
> > > > > precisely) variable of a successive uninterrupted incessant moving
> > > > movable
> > > > > whole in contrast to parts and parcels even components of some
> > > > > static internally immovable pseudo-stagnant whole which , if
> > > potentially
> > > > > realizable , will damage genuine cognition .
> > > > >
> > > > > Best
> > > > > Haydi
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > ------------------------------
> > > > > *From:* David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> > > > > *To:* Haydi Zulfei <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>
> > > > > *Sent:* Tuesday, 12 January 2016, 9:08:03
> > > > > *Subject:* Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Volkelt's diagram (LSV's HMF Vol 4)
> > > > >
> > > > > Thanks, Haydi--I have always wondered what the word "molar" means
> (in
> > > the
> > > > > wk of Leontiev) and what the relationship to chemistry and
> dentistry
> > > is.
> > > > > Your explanation cleared this up, as well as clearing up the
> relation
> > > > > between "moment" and music.
> > > > >
> > > > > I'm not so sure that Andy's contribution--the idea that what is
> meant
> > > is
> > > > a
> > > > > moment in calculus--is so irrelevant. You see, for me there are
> three
> > > > > problems that we have to work out in annotating Vygotsky's use of
> > > > "moment"
> > > > > (and actually I think that the task of annotating Vygotsky's work
> is
> > > the
> > > > > real next step in Vygotsky studies, not mindless "mythbusting").
> > > > >
> > > > > First of all, "moment" is used in Kant, in Hegel, and in
> > phenomenology
> > > in
> > > > > a way I would characterize as SYNOPTIC--that is, to describe
> > something
> > > > like
> > > > > a sculpture which does not move, which we may circumambulate and
> > > describe
> > > > > from various sides. But in Vygotsky the "object" being described is
> > > > almost
> > > > > always no object at all, but rather an unfolding process. Where the
> > > > > synoptic object does not move and can be circumambulated, the
> dynamic
> > > > > object moves, and we are usually stuck in one position, observing
> it.
> > > > This
> > > > > means that the "moments" are only aspects of the whole in
> retrospect:
> > > as
> > > > we
> > > > > observe they tend to appear as neoformations which were not even
> > > present,
> > > > > much less typical, of the phenomenon previously. We could somehow
> > treat
> > > > > these moments as always inhering, the way that puberty is implicit
> > in a
> > > > > newborn infant) but treating real psychic phenomena like speech or
> > > > > musicality that way seems absurdly teleological and seems to deny
> the
> > > > > irreducible unpredictability of development. I think that the idea
> of
> > > > > "moment" as being a moment of an integral gets us around this
> > (because
> > > > even
> > > > > nonlinear functions can be integrated). Certainly if I were
> > explaining
> > > > > "moment" to a high school teacher of science, I would use the
> example
> > > of
> > > > > angular momentum.
> > > > >
> > > > > Secondly, Vygotsky (and also Hegel) sometimes uses "moment" and
> > > sometimes
> > > > > uses "instance". Are these different? It seems to me that they are.
> > The
> > > > > cline of instantiation, in Hallidayan linguistics, is quite
> different
> > > > from
> > > > > the description of development. A text is an instance of a
> language,
> > > but
> > > > > it's not a 'moment'. A context of situation is an instance of a
> > context
> > > > of
> > > > > culture, but it's not a moment of it. We cannot say that "weather"
> > is a
> > > > > "moment" in the development of a climate: it's an instance. Viewed
> > > > > synoptically, weather and climate are simply to different
> > chronological
> > > > > sections of one and the same phenomenon (akin to using
> > "phylogenesis",
> > > > > "ontogenesis", "microgenesis"). But that brings me to a third
> > problem,
> > > > > where it seems to me that Haydi's musical analogy is indispensible.
> > > > >
> > > > > I think that it is only when we treat the phenomenon to be
> described
> > > > > synoptically, and not when we treat it dynamically, that we can
> > > seriously
> > > > > say that, for example, weather and climate are descriptions of the
> > same
> > > > > phenomenon which differ in granularity. In fact, weather is chiefly
> > > > > influenced by wind; the angle of the sun (or the relationship
> between
> > > > solar
> > > > > radiation absorbed and solar radiation reflected out into space) is
> > > > > present, but it is much less immediately causal. With climate, it's
> > the
> > > > > other way around. When we say that word meaning develops, we see
> much
> > > the
> > > > > same qualitative shifts: sense is a constitutive moment of infant
> > > speech
> > > > > while signiication is quite peripheral, whereas with dialogue on
> xmca
> > > we
> > > > > have the reverse relationship. This shift in the organic make up of
> > the
> > > > > phenomenon also occurs with other dynamic phenomena, and an obvious
> > way
> > > > to
> > > > > grasp this is Haydi's example of music: recitative in opera, for
> > > example,
> > > > > is dominated by melody (derived from speech), but arias are much
> more
> > > > > regular and rhythmical (and for this reason stand somewhat closer
> to
> > > > > emotion and to logical thought, even when looked at as text).
> > > > >
> > > > > David Kellogg
> > > > > Macquarie University
> > > > >
> > > > > On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 6:04 PM, <haydizulfei@rocketmail.com>
> wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Dear all ,
> > > > >
> > > > > Look at this please !
> > > > >
> > > > > [[V. S. Bibler has singled out the following basic features of a
> > > thought
> > > > > experiment: 1) The
> > > > > object of cognition is mentally transferred to conditions where its
> > > > > essence can be revealed
> > > > > particularly clearly; 2) this object then undergoes further mental
> > > > > transformations; 3) this same
> > > > > experiment leads to the formation of a system of mental links in
> > which
> > > > the
> > > > > object is
> > > > > “embedded.” If the construction of this object can still be
> > represented
> > > > as
> > > > > a process of
> > > > > abstraction of the real object’s properties, then this third moment
> > > > > essentially becomes a
> > > > > productive contribution to the mentally represented object. It is
> > only
> > > > > within this special
> > > > > system of links that the object’s content gets revealed.]]
> > > > >
> > > > > This is the same with "activity" as "molar" , that is , activity ,
> > > action
> > > > > , operation are not parts or stages of a whole , discrete and
> > separate
> > > > even
> > > > > componential . As I can think of it , it is a point in a circular
> > > > > succession of a whole which could naturally be manifest in temporal
> > > > > instants . By definition , in a round of activity , neither itself
> ,
> > > nor
> > > > > action , nor operation could keep to their constancy or stability
> or
> > > > > independence or invariability. At each point of succession or
> > > > motionality ,
> > > > > because of opposites , alterations in drives , motives
> > > > > , emotional incentives or stimuation , each of the three could be
> > > > converted
> > > > > in the other as we all have seen .
> > > > >
> > > > > And there's an affinity in music domain . A whole melody is played
> > with
> > > > > all nuances , pitch , other contours in their entire composition .
> > > It's a
> > > > > whole to be absorbed in its entirety so that the invited
> pleasurable
> > > > > feeling is obtained . Usually some individual wouldn't refer to a
> > > > > particular part or stage orietating on which this or that kind of
> > > affect
> > > > or
> > > > > ecstacy runs through the soul . The individual might even stop to
> > think
> > > > of
> > > > > how to express it and he might  finally resort to imitation . Then
> ,
> > > the
> > > > > philosopher , might refer to that particular point or that single
> > note
> > > in
> > > > > whole composition or in playing as moment or as a temporal instant
> on
> > > > which
> > > > > such and such a manifestation , event , episode , feature , state
> > > occurs
> > > > .
> > > > > Taking that single note apart from the whole might be uncognizable
> or
> > > > > immanipulative in itself and the whole without it or with a
> > substitute
> > > > > might lose the favor . Another example might be the "ideal" which
> is
> > > said
> > > > > to be immersed in material activity . Davydov's works are good
> > sources
> > > > for
> > > > > such qurries but I can't give a locus now .
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Best
> > > > >
> > > > > Haydi
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>