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[Xmca-l] Re: Mediating Activity and Mediated Activity

Hmm, David, I hesitate to jump in too deep, because I haven’t time right now to read things properly, so I can’t engage sufficiently with the papers under discussion, but I don’t think it’s a matter of choosing to believe in phonemes or not. Phonemes are just a tool of analysis. They are a perceived unit: as an English speaker I perceive /p/ is different from /b/; and /pin/ is a different word from /bin/  - so /p/ and /b/ are distinct phonemes for English speakers. 

There might be situations where there are better tools of analysis, but often phonemes are just dandy, and can come in very handy when you’re learning a new language, and trying to figure out how to distinguish the different sounds.

But not really my area of expertise, so I’ll finish my plug for phonemes right here ….

> On 6 May 2016, at 7:12 AM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> That's not the only question. See the last paragraph, where the author
> talks about the amazing fact that smaller speech communities have fewer
> varieties of hats and the clear evidence that this provides for the
> diffusion and diversification of a hat gene during the spread of homo modus
> sapiens from its ancenstral home in the valley of the Seine.
> My own question is much more basic, Martin. I do not believe in phonemes. I
> think that the unit of analysis for spoken language must map onto meaning,
> and that points to a unit the size of a syllable, roughly corresponding to
> a word. (My mother uncovered evidence for this when she did dichotic
> listening tests on me as an infant.) Phonemes are actually artefacts of
> writings systems, retroactively projected onto spoken language, and this is
> why, as the article discovers, the more we study a language, the more
> phonemes we "discover" in it.
> By the way, Cavalli-Sforza's work DID make the fundamental methodological
> mistake of correlating language variation with variation in mitochondrial
> DNA. See:
> Cavalli-Sforza, L.L. (2000)
> *Genes, Peoples, and Languages,* University of California Press.
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
> On Fri, May 6, 2016 at 5:44 AM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> wrote:
>> Right, the question here is whether the data used - from the World Atlas
>> of Language Structures - was sufficiently accurate and detailed in its
>> characterization of the phonemes in each language.
>> Martin
>>> On May 5, 2016, at 8:09 AM, Peg Griffin <Peg.Griffin@att.net> wrote:
>>> Mark Liberman  considered the Atkinson work in the Language Log a little
>> while ago
>>> http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3090
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Martin John Packer
>>> Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2016 8:43 AM
>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Mediating Activity and Mediated Activity
>>> Helen,
>>> This is a different analysis, in a different paper, that purports to
>> document how selected members of the Indo-European language family spread
>> geographically between the seventh millennium BC and 1974.
>>> Martin
>>>> On May 5, 2016, at 12:11 AM, Helen Harper <helen.harper@bigpond.com>
>> wrote:
>>>> The theory is attractive, but these theories are always a bit
>> bothersome. I don’t enough about historical linguistic theory to say
>> anything sensible but it always pays at least to look for the counter
>> argument:
>>>> http://www.geocurrents.info/cultural-geography/linguistic-geography/qu
>>>> entin-atkinsons-nonsensical-maps-of-indo-european-expansion
>>>> Helen
>>>>> On 5 May 2016, at 11:46 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>>>> Remarkable and beautiful!
>>>>> andy
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> Andy Blunden
>>>>> http://home.mira.net/~andy
>>>>> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
>>>>> On 5/05/2016 12:02 PM, Martin John Packer wrote:
>>>>>> <http://www.historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?id=3285>
>>>>>> <https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/where-on-earth-
>>>>>> did-language-begin/>
>>>>>> Martin
>>>>>>> On May 4, 2016, at 6:47 PM, Martin John Packer <
>> mpacker@uniandes.edu.co> wrote:
>>>>>>> David,
>>>>>>> No, Cavalli-Sforza studies human migration by tracing shared genes.
>> I was referring to the work of Quentin Atkinson:
>>>>>>> Atkinson, Q. D. (2011). Phonemic diversity supports a serial founder
>> effect model of language expansion from Africa. Science, 332, 346-349.
>>>>>>> I tried to include an image in my last message, but it seems to have
>> been stripped out.
>>>>>>> Martin
>>>>>>>> On May 4, 2016, at 6:40 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> Henry:
>>>>>>>> Martin's referring to the work of Cavalli-Sforza, which assumes
>>>>>>>> that you can trace the spread of language by studying
>>>>>>>> mitochondrial DNA. This overlooks the fact the people do not
>>>>>>>> simply inherit languages. They learn them.
>>>>>>>> I think that this may be Vygotsky's most overlooked contribution.
>>>>>>>> Vygotsky's description of the proto-language of the child's first
>>>>>>>> two years of life, combined with Halliday's great "Nigel" studies,
>>>>>>>> provides us with...the key to the origins of language.
>>>>>>>> The question of the origins of language in linguistics is a little
>>>>>>>> like string theory in physics; it's something linguists go into
>>>>>>>> because they find working with data messy and unpleasant, and dead
>>>>>>>> speakers tell no tales. For most of Western intellectual history,
>>>>>>>> the only field workers were amateur archaeologists seeking
>>>>>>>> Biblical confirmation: a quest for the Garden of Eden and the
>>>>>>>> Tower of Babel. In the 19th Century, the field became so
>>>>>>>> speculative that the Royal Society and the French Academie des
>> sciences banned the acceptance of scientific papers on the subject.
>>>>>>>> It was almost forgotten in the twentieth, and recent attempts to
>>>>>>>> revive it by searching the Human Genome Project for a "language
>>>>>>>> gene" have led absolutely nowhere.
>>>>>>>> Vygotsky shows us what language looks like when the infant tries
>>>>>>>> to invent it. When he says that thinking and speech have separate
>>>>>>>> roots, and then come together, what he means is that the first
>>>>>>>> languages, which are still being invented right in front of our
>>>>>>>> noses, have separate two layers: a semantics and a phonetics, and
>>>>>>>> these are then linked. But that link is not yet wording; it's not
>>>>>>>> lexicogrammar: it's simply pointing out and naming
>>>>>>>> things: matching sounds to objects.
>>>>>>>> Halliday shows us how the child is able to exapt the lexicogrammar
>>>>>>>> he sees and hears being enacted around him to his own functional
>>>>>>>> purposes, his own semantics and his own phonetics. It's a big
>>>>>>>> step, but it's a step that even a two year old human can make given
>> the collaborative help of conspecifics.
>>>>>>>> So it is not reasonable to assume that it was made only once.
>>>>>>>> Throughout human history, the number of human languages has tended
>>>>>>>> to diminish and not increase, either through genocide or through
>>>>>>>> literacy or both. Babel was indeed our past, but the single
>>>>>>>> language that supposedly preceded it is really a long-ago that is
>> yet-to-come.
>>>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>>>> Macquarie University
>>>>>>>> On Thu, May 5, 2016 at 9:04 AM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Gente,
>>>>>>>>> As far as the invention of language, whether spoken, signed or
>>>>>>>>> written, do we know whether it was invented once, or many times,
>>>>>>>>> independently? Are we humans alone in the universe, the only
>>>>>>>>> inventors of language? Are these questions relevant to the
>>>>>>>>> thread? If not, I only have questions, so they’re my best shot.
>>>>>>>>> Henry
>>>>>>>>>> On May 4, 2016, at 3:57 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> Well, but then in hindsight everything coevolves with everything,
>> Andy.
>>>>>>>>> And
>>>>>>>>>> only in hindsight. Three problems with that.
>>>>>>>>>> First of all, this view of "co-evolution" renders the idea of
>>>>>>>>>> evolution vacuous. There is no obvious reason why the larynx
>>>>>>>>>> should be considered
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>> "rudiment" of language rather than the mouth or the ears or for
>>>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>> matter
>>>>>>>>>> the hand (Stokoe makes a very convincing argument that sign
>>>>>>>>>> languages predate vocal ones). So then we have to say that
>>>>>>>>>> speech co-evolved with mouths and ears and hands?
>>>>>>>>>> Secondly, to pre-empt a little the upcoming issue of MCA, that
>>>>>>>>>> this view
>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> co-evolution also makes it impossible to explain crises as
>>>>>>>>>> internal phenomena. The pace of change of language is
>>>>>>>>>> qualitatively different from the pace of change of the
>>>>>>>>>> "rudiment" of language, wherever you choose to locate it, and
>>>>>>>>>> this changing of gears needs to be explained. It wasn't a simple
>>>>>>>>>> adaptation to the environment, whatever it was; it doesn't
>>>>>>>>>> appear
>>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>>>> be environment specific at all.
>>>>>>>>>> Thirdly, this notion of co-evolution, discovering "rudiments" in
>>>>>>>>> accidents,
>>>>>>>>>> does not give us a unit of analysis that has all of the
>>>>>>>>>> properties that
>>>>>>>>> we
>>>>>>>>>> are interested in studying. The quipu and the notched stick are
>>>>>>>>>> deliberately endowed with meaning, but the larynx is not.
>>>>>>>>>> Perhaps what you mean is not the larynx but the vocal tract: the
>>>>>>>>>> lungs, the bronchial tubes, the wind pipe, the voicebox, the
>>>>>>>>>> oral cavity, the tongue, the lips and the nose and nasal
>>>>>>>>>> passages. But this did not evolve at all; in  fact, as a
>>>>>>>>>> physiological organ the vocal tract does not even exist. It's
>>>>>>>>>> not an adaptation but an exaptation--a bringing together of
>>>>>>>>>> organs which evolved with very different functions for a purpose
>>>>>>>>>> which is not an adaptation to the environment but an attempt to
>> create a qualitatively new type of environment, namely a semiotic one.
>>>>>>>>>> The notion of the co-evolution of tools and signs not only
>>>>>>>>>> renders the
>>>>>>>>> idea
>>>>>>>>>> of evolution almost meaningless, it also makes it next to
>>>>>>>>>> impossible to consciously and deliberately and rationally
>>>>>>>>>> introduce design into development. If signs are, like tools,
>>>>>>>>>> just ways of slavishly adapting to an environment or (worse)
>>>>>>>>>> slavishly adapting the environment to human whims, we can only
>>>>>>>>>> stagger and struggle against each other, from one adaptation to
>>>>>>>>>> the next. But if speech is an audaciously wise attempt to create
>>>>>>>>>> an environment of an entirely new type, an environment made of
>>>>>>>>>> meaning rather than merely of matter, then we humans might have
>>>>>>>>>> some hope of transforming the bitter blind combat of each against
>> all into a common collaborative project. That would be co-evolution indeed.
>>>>>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>>>>>> Macquarie University
>>>>>>>>>> On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 2:09 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> David, I am responding to "Tool use--and even tool
>>>>>>>>>>> manufacture--is quite common in higher primates. But while the
>>>>>>>>>>> higher primates regularly use gesture, there is no evidence of
>>>>>>>>>>> any other species developing anything
>>>>>>>>> like
>>>>>>>>>>> a lexicogrammar."
>>>>>>>>>>> In his somewhat discredited book "Ape, Primitive Man and Child,"
>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky
>>>>>>>>>>> makes the point that the form of activity which is found in
>>>>>>>>>>> non-human animals in *rudimentary* form but is fully developed
>>>>>>>>>>> in humans, is the
>>>>>>>>> key
>>>>>>>>>>> to the "transition from ape to man" and is thus the "essence of
>>>>>>>>>>> man" (to use a lot of 19th century language). That is why he
>>>>>>>>>>> was so determined,
>>>>>>>>> at
>>>>>>>>>>> the time, to find "rudimentary" forms of writing among
>>>>>>>>>>> not-literate
>>>>>>>>> peoples
>>>>>>>>>>> (those memory sticks and knots).
>>>>>>>>>>> For all the faults of this work, I think this was a profound
>> insight.
>>>>>>>>> What
>>>>>>>>>>> he seemed to have been blind to is that the larynx evolved
>>>>>>>>>>> together with the hand, and human beings learnt to speak at the
>>>>>>>>>>> same time as they
>>>>>>>>> learnt
>>>>>>>>>>> to make tools. It was only in 1931 that he recognised that a
>>>>>>>>>>> spoken word was as much a sign as a piece of technology
>>>>>>>>>>> manufactured for
>>>>>>>>> communicative
>>>>>>>>>>> purposes - which nonetheless, did turn out to mark a
>>>>>>>>>>> qualitative leap in human cultural development.
>>>>>>>>>>> The great insight from this work is that despite himself, he
>>>>>>>>>>> looked
>>>>>>>>> *not*
>>>>>>>>>>> at the attribute of human beings which was exclusively found
>>>>>>>>>>> among
>>>>>>>>> humans
>>>>>>>>>>> (lexicogrammar) as the "essence of man," but on the contrary to
>>>>>>>>>>> the mediating activity which produced the change from one
>>>>>>>>>>> species to
>>>>>>>>> another.
>>>>>>>>>>> This is the Hegelian idea of concept, a.k.a. species, as
>>>>>>>>>>> opposed to the positivist concept of species/concept which looks
>> for "essential"
>>>>>>>>>>> attributes as definitive. But he didn;t know that until 1931.
>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>>>>> http://home.mira.net/~andy
>>>>>>>>>>> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-
>>>>>>>>>>> making On 4/05/2016 1:48 PM, David Kellogg wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>> Greg:
>>>>>>>>>>>> Tool use--and even tool manufacture--is quite common in higher
>>>>>>>>> primates.
>>>>>>>>>>>> But while the higher primates regularly use gesture, there is
>>>>>>>>>>>> no
>>>>>>>>> evidence
>>>>>>>>>>>> of any other species developing anything like a lexicogrammar.
>>>>>>>>>>>> It's in that sense that I was arguing that tool use has
>>>>>>>>>>>> temporal priority over
>>>>>>>>> signs. I
>>>>>>>>>>>> don't think tools and signs co-evolved phylogenetically any
>>>>>>>>>>>> more than
>>>>>>>>> they
>>>>>>>>>>>> co-evolve ontogenetically. I think that practical intelligence
>>>>>>>>>>>> and speech have separate genetic roots and separate functional
>>>>>>>>>>>> paths, the
>>>>>>>>> one
>>>>>>>>>>>> oriented towards the environment and the other towards
>> conspecifics.
>>>>>>>>>>>> While he was in prison, Oscar Wilde was allowed one sheet of
>>>>>>>>>>>> paper a
>>>>>>>>> day,
>>>>>>>>>>>> which was issued to him in the morning and then locked in a
>>>>>>>>>>>> safe in the evening. He used this to write a very long letter
>>>>>>>>>>>> to his lover Lord
>>>>>>>>> Alfred
>>>>>>>>>>>> Douglas (about a third of this letter, with the long and
>>>>>>>>>>>> highly contradictory complaints removed, was published as "De
>> Profundis").
>>>>>>>>> But it
>>>>>>>>>>>> was only after his release that he was able to transform the
>>>>>>>>>>>> sorry mess into great art, a ballad about a trooper who was
>>>>>>>>>>>> hanged while he was in prison.
>>>>>>>>>>>> He did not wear his scarlet coat For blood and wine are red
>>>>>>>>>>>> And blood and wine were on his hands When they found him with
>>>>>>>>>>>> the dead The poor dead woman that he loved And murdered in
>>>>>>>>>>>> their bed
>>>>>>>>>>>> It's all there: the blue coat of the trooper is now red,
>>>>>>>>>>>> Christ
>>>>>>>>> transforms
>>>>>>>>>>>> blue water into red wine at Canaa, wine is transformed into
>>>>>>>>>>>> blood
>>>>>>>>> before
>>>>>>>>>>>> Gethsemane and Golgotha, and even the main complaint Wilde has
>>>>>>>>>>>> against Douglas in "De Profundis", which is that "each man
>>>>>>>>>>>> kills the thing he loves but each man does not die" is changed
>>>>>>>>>>>> into "murdered in their bed". But the very first step in this
>>>>>>>>>>>> transsubstantiation of mere suffering into
>>>>>>>>> great
>>>>>>>>>>>> art happens in the very first word, where Wilde begins with "he"
>>>>>>>>> instead
>>>>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>>>> "I".
>>>>>>>>>>>> Of course it's possible to use your personal misery to create
>>>>>>>>>>>> great
>>>>>>>>> art.
>>>>>>>>>>>> But it's hard, for (at least) three reasons. First of all,
>>>>>>>>>>>> it's hard to stand back and let the material alone rather than
>>>>>>>>>>>> try to whip it into shape. Second, it's hard to reconcile the
>>>>>>>>>>>> sense that your pain is the
>>>>>>>>> one
>>>>>>>>>>>> and only and incomparable and ineffable and the sense that you
>>>>>>>>>>>> are at
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>>>> same time everywoman. Thirdly, pain is debilitating: it
>>>>>>>>>>>> withers your embrace right at the very moment when you need to
>>>>>>>>>>>> reach out, makes you unfit for companionship right when you
>>>>>>>>>>>> need it most, fills your mouth
>>>>>>>>> with
>>>>>>>>>>>> incoherent screams precisely when you most need the precision
>>>>>>>>>>>> of words
>>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>>>>>> convey what you are feeling to others. On top of that, as
>>>>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky
>>>>>>>>> says,
>>>>>>>>>>>> really good art is not the contagion of feeling: it's the
>>>>>>>>> individuation of
>>>>>>>>>>>> social emotion and not the socialization of individual emotion.
>>>>>>>>>>>> The unmotivated reconciliation that ends "Lemonade" is deus ex
>>>>>>>>>>>> machina, i.e. both unartistic and unrealistic. Either it was
>>>>>>>>>>>> manufactured for
>>>>>>>>> mass
>>>>>>>>>>>> market consumption, or the raw emotion that preceded it was. Or
>> both.
>>>>>>>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>>>>>>>> Macquarie University
>>>>>>>>>>>> On Tue, May 3, 2016 at 11:05 AM, Greg Mcverry
>>>>>>>>>>>> <jgregmcverry@gmail.com>
>>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>> I would have to agree with Andy on the co-evolution of the
>>>>>>>>>>>> tools. To
>>>>>>>>>>>>> separate one as developing phylogenetically as
>>>>>>>>>>>>> ontogenetically seems false.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Could one argue that agriculture was a pre-cursor to formal
>>>>>>>>>>>>> writing systems but sign systems evolved as a form of
>>>>>>>>>>>>> communication long before? I am not a cultural
>>>>>>>>>>>>> anthropologist. I really do not know if there has been a
>>>>>>>>> writing
>>>>>>>>>>>>> system developed in a hunting and gathering culture.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Yet that does not mean those same cultures were not ripe with
>>>>>>>>>>>>> sign systems and meaning makings.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> I think the mediation and differentiation of tools coevolving
>>>>>>>>>>>>> is even more stark when we consider the age of the web. For
>>>>>>>>>>>>> the first 25 years of
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>>>>> web the people building the web were also doing their own
>>>>>>>>>>>>> identity
>>>>>>>>> work.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> People that hung out on the the Well, Usenets, chat rooms.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca listservs, etc were defining the tools in a way to help
>>>>>>>>>>>>> define themselves. Here
>>>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>>>>>>>> agreat piece by Ben Werdmuller reflecting on how his tool
>>>>>>>>>>>>> development could not be separated from his own ontological
>>>>>>>>>>>>> development:
>>>>>>>>> https://words.werd.io/we-are-the-monkeys-of-rum-70f81d4a02df#.n0x
>>>>>>>>> 23ugom
>>>>>>>>>>>>> In terms of Beyonce. Whether you call it a mediating activity
>>>>>>>>>>>>> or a mediated activity. I am not sure it matters. The point
>>>>>>>>>>>>> is to be a force. For
>>>>>>>>> those
>>>>>>>>>>>>> not in the states her latest release has been seen as a call
>>>>>>>>>>>>> to women
>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>>>>> color. Her Super Bowl performance was both celebrated and
>> vilified.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> I haven't heard Lemonade yet ( I suffer from severe pop
>>>>>>>>>>>>> culture
>>>>>>>>> deficit)
>>>>>>>>>>>>> but I hear it getting talked about all over the web. I wonder
>>>>>>>>>>>>> how
>>>>>>>>> Hegel
>>>>>>>>>>>>> would think of something like the web where the culture is
>>>>>>>>>>>>> both
>>>>>>>>> affected
>>>>>>>>>>>>> by
>>>>>>>>>>>>> market pressures but not limited to any one national
>>>>>>>>>>>>> identity. Is the
>>>>>>>>> web
>>>>>>>>>>>>> the world spirit?
>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Mon, May 2, 2016 at 8:44 PM Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>>>>>>> <ablunden@mira.net>
>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>> I think the evidence is in that speech and labour (i.e.,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> tool-use) co-evolved, but writing came a whole epoch later.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I do not think it is a sustainable "developmentalist" point
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> of view that a form of activity can first be differentiated
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and then be mediated: the mediation and the differentiation
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> co-evolve (so to speak). That's the whole point.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On my update to:
>>>>>>>>> https://www.academia.edu/4781886/From_where_did_Vygotsky_get_his_
>>>>>>>>> Hegelianism
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I never claimed that Vygotsky only got his Hegel through
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Marx: his knowledge of Hegel was mediated through a number
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> of sources (including Lenin and Engels and probably
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Plekhanov, followers of Deborin and Lewin). The correction
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> you referred to was my admission that the passage you drew
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> my attention to in HDHMF I had overlooked in my catalogue,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and that it had to be included with the one or two other
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> allusions which seem to have come from a reading of the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> section of Hegel's Subjective Spirit named "Psychology".
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Someone, c. 1931, drew his attention to these passages.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> There are other passages of The Subjective Spirit which
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> would have been of great interest to Vygotsky and would
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> certainly have been appropriated if he had ever read them,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> but he hadn't, far less the Logic (though he had studied
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Lenin's Annotations on the Logic) or the Phenomenology,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> which no Marxist or Psychologist read in the period of his
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> lifetime.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Is it time yet, David, for you to make a correction to your
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> claim that the Vygotsky archive would eventually turn up
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky's annotations on the Phenomenology?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://home.mira.net/~andy
>>>>>>>>> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-ma
>>>>>>>>> king
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On 3/05/2016 9:00 AM, David Kellogg wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> You and I both come out of the pugilistic left, and we live
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> in a country where socks are considered formal apparel. So
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I imagine that no question mark is required to start a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> discussion; nor pulling of punches to finish one.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I think I made the case that the distinction was pretty
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> useful, at least to Beyoncé fans--if not, see Vygotsky's
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> conclusion to Chapter Two of HDHMF, where he points out
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> that the precise nature of the relationship of signs and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> tools needs to be worked out yet, but in any case that
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> relation is indirect; it MUST pass through a super-category
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> he calls MEDIATING activities. For YOU and for HEGEL, all
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> activity can be said to be both mediating and mediated, but
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> this is a non-developmental point of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> view: for a developmentalist, one must perforce be
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> differentiated first. Phylogenetically, it seems likely
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> that tools were differentiated before signs, but
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ontogenetically it is usually the other way around.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> What really IS academic in the extreme is your own
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> distinction between "really quoting" Hegel and quoting
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hegel in a footnote to Marx academic. It's also quite
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> unprovable. By the way, this might be a good place to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> acknowledge the corrections you have recently made to your
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> assertion that every single Hegel reference you have found
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> in Vygotsky's work can be found verbatim in Marx.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Macquarie University
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Mon, May 2, 2016 at 12:00 PM, Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I didn't see a question mark anywhere David, but (for
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> reasons of my own) could I just note that Vygotsky is not
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> really quoting Hegel, but rather quoting Marx quoting
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hegel's Shorter Logic in an author's footnote to /Capital/.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Marx puts an interesting twist on the point Hegel is making
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> in the original. I think it is a twist which preserves
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hegel's meaning, but it is really the opposite of what
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hegel is saying.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> By "the cunning of Reason" Hegel means how History and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> social processes in general unfold according to their own
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> logic, irrespective of the intentions of their human
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> actors. Marx twists this to make the point that natural
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> objects act according to human purposes, not their material
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> properties as such.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I agree that when Hegel is talking about human affairs,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "Spirit" means "Activity", but of course unlike Marx, Hegel
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> deifies Spirit. For Marx, men make history, only not under
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> conditions of their own choosing. For Hegel, men are mere
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> tools of the Weltgeist (world spirit).
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I was able to grasp the distinction between mediating and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> mediated activity, though given that all activity is
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> mediated and all activity is mediating, the distinction
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> strikes me as academic in the extreme. I remain to be
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> convinced that Hegel knoew of any such distinction.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The paragraph following the note on "cunning of Reason" in
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the Shorter Logic is an interesting one:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> TheRealised Endis thus the overt unity of subjective and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> objective. It is however essentially characteristic of this
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> unity, that the subjective and objective are neutralised
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and cancelled only in the point of their one-sidedness,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> while the objective is subdued and made conformable to the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> End, as the free notion, and thereby to the power above it.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The End maintains itself against and in the objective: for
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> it is no mere one-sided subjective or particular, it is
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> also the concrete universal, the implicit identity of both.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This universal, as simply reflected in itself, is the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> content which remains unchanged through all the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> three/termini/of the syllogism and their movement.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> -----------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> -
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>
>>>>>>>>> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-ma
>>>>>>>>> king
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On 2/05/2016 9:03 AM, David Kellogg wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  I'm reading a chapter by Janette Freidrich in the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  collection "Vygotski
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  maintenant" published in 2011. It's an imaginary
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  dialogue between Buhler
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  and Vygotsky on the former's theory of language
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  and the latter's criticisms
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  thereof, very cleverly written in INDIRECT SPEECH
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  so that Friedrich doesn't
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  have to waste time trying to imitate the voice of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  each or pretend that she
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  knows the exact wording of each argument.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Friedrich begins with Hegel's
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  distinction (from the LONGER Logic, the one that
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  I've never read) between
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  mediating activity and mediated activity.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Mediating activity is what Vygotsky talks about
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  using the quote from Hegel
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  in HDHMF Chapter Two: it's when your role is
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  essentially bystanding, when
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  you use one force of nature, more or less in the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  natural state, against
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  another.For example, you arrange the downspout of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  your house roof gutters
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  so that it bores a hole in a piece of limestone.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Or you hang your wet
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  laundry on a tree branch and let the sun dry it
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  out instead of trying to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  wring it dry yourself..
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Mediated activity is in some ways the same, but in
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  others completely
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  opposite. It's the same in that you are using one
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  natural force against
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  another, but it's opposite in the sense that your
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  role is not bystanding;
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  you are yourself one of the forces of nature. For
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  example, instead of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  arranging the downspout, you make a chisel or a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  drill of some kind to bore
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  a hole in a piece of limestone and sculpt it into
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  a flagstone or a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  tombstone. Or you beat the laundry dry with a tree
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  branch instead of just
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  hanging it there.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Friedrich points out that in Vygotsky's early work
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  (e.g. "The History of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  the Crisis") Vygotsky speaks of psychic tools--he
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  is treating ALL activity
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  as "mediated" rather than mediating. But in HDHMF,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  we know that he
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  CRITIQUES this point of view, precisely because it
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  equates the sign and the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  tool. Now, you might think that the sign even more
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  like mediated activity
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  and even less like mediating activity than the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  tool. After all, sign users
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  are not bystanders; they are even more intimately
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  and intensively and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  deliberately involved as subjects than tools. But
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  that confuses the sign
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  user with the sign itself. It also ignores a key
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  difference between
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  mediating activity and mediated activity--which is
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  that in mediating
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  activity the force of nature is allowed to act
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  according to its own
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  properties. When I use a word, I do not try to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  transform it from a sound
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  into something else; or rather, if I do, then I
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  get something that is less
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  obviously language and more like onomatopoeia.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  While I read, I am listening to Beyoncé's new
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  album "Lemonade", which is an
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  attempt to take a force of nature (the sour lemons
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  of a husband's
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  infidelity) and to transform it into something
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  larger than life or twice as
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  natural (the eponymous lemonade). It's an uneasy
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  cross between a mediating
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  activity ("for colored girls who have considered
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  suicide | when the rainbow
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  is enuf", where 20 imaginary characters are used
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  and Ntozake Shange simply
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  stands back) and a mediated one ("Black Macho and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  the Myth of Superwoman",
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  where Michelle Wallace tries to use her own
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  experiences alongside a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  traditional academic approach). Beyoncé can't
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  quite figure out whether she
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  wants to do this as a mediating choreographer for
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  an ineffable everywoman
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  or as a mediated activity by the one and only
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Pasha Bey.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  David Kellogg
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Macquarie University

Status: O