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

David and all,
When I first read the posts on this thread (mediating and mediated activity), what came to my mind was automatic and controlled processes, which can apply to either physical or mental processes. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_and_controlled_processes_(ACP) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_and_controlled_processes_(ACP)>

My understanding, from my research in second language learning among highly literate adults, is that optimal performance at any level of L2 fluency (development), where optimality is judged in terms of both immediate communicative goals and rate of learning, is achieved by a judicious mix of automatic and controlled processes. L2 learners and their “helpers" (especially teachers and more fluent L2 speakering friends) move the process of the development of L2 verbal fluency forward best by speaking in such a way that the learner is challenged but not too much. This sounds like the Goldilocks story.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldilocks_principle <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldilocks_principle>

My son and I just had an interesting discussion about arousal, anxiety and stress. This discussion was grounded in some major stressors he encountered as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua. I found that both wikipedia articles (automatic/controlled processes and Goldilocks) included the idea of optimality imaged as an inverted U shape. 

My question then goes to David’s claim:  

> "Andy's view is that all mediational activities
> are both mediating and mediated, so it is a distinction without a difference.”

Automatic and controlled processing are certainly distinct. Why can’t mediating and mediated be distinct in the same way? 

With respect,


> On May 10, 2016, at 4:38 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> Greg:
> Thanks for keeping us on topic. It's pretty hard, in the scrum, to keep our
> eyes on the ball!
> There are different views. My view is that the distinction between
> mediating activity and mediated activity is essential; that it is the
> beginning--only the beginning, but an important beginning--to undoing a
> serious distortion in Vygotsky's legacy, which is collapsing the difference
> between tools and signs in expressions like "psychological tools",
> "mediating artefacts", etc. Andy's view is that all mediational activities
> are both mediating and mediated, so it is a distinction without a
> difference. I say they are more distinct than linked, and Andy says they
> are more linked than distinct.
> Andy does something very different from me. I spend my days coding data and
> translating Vygotsky, so I am always sensitive to concepts like exaptation
> and metastability: how something that is evolved for one purpose (like
> transforming the environment) becomes useful for something entirely
> different (like semiosis) and also how a relationship like mediation must
> fundamentally change just in order to stay the same. For me the dynamic
> view always takes precedence over the synoptic. Andy spends his days
> thinking and writing about the concept of language and the concept of
> society, so he is pretty much the other way around. It's a little bit like
> the man who walks around a tree trying to catch sight of a squirrel that
> does not want to be caught sight of. When the man has circumambulated the
> tree, has he circumambulated the squirrel? It all depends on whether you
> are more interested in the relationship of the squirrel to the tree (as
> Andy is) or the squirrel to the man (as I am).
> Children do develop sound awareness. If you teach a child a rhyme like:
> Dr. Foster went to Gloucester
> And it began to rain.
> He stepped in a puddle right up to his middle
> And never went there again.
> Children will tell you which words rhyme, and which words half rhyme, and
> which words don't rhyme. Notice, though, that this is rather more sound
> awareness than phonemic awareness. "Foster" and "Gloucester" only rhyme if
> you have a Gloucester accent (and you can make them rhyme more or less by
> approaching or distancing yourself from Gloucester). "Puddle" and "middle"
> do not rhyme at all by the rules of phonemic awareness. So what children
> are really aware of is a wide range of sound contrasts, of which the
> contrasts we call "phonemic" are only a small part. This explains:
> a) why, for example, in languages which are not phonemically described like
> Chinese, there are nevertheless long traditions, going back over a thousand
> years, of non-phonemic sound analysis (e.g. lists of rhymes compiled by
> poets, intonation schemes for poetic reading, etc), and
> b) why in languages which are phonemically described like English we keep
> finding more and more "phonemic" differences (e.g. the difference between
> "Sorry!" and "Sorry?")
> I think that hardly anybody on this list would deny that tool creation
> fundamentally changes development, both phylogenetically and
> ontogenetically. Vygotsky certainly didn't deny it: tool creation was THE
> essential moment of anthropogenesis in evolution, and it is also one of the
> key neoformations in infancy according to his lectures on pedology. But if
> you say that tools and signs "co-evolve" it becomes very hard to argue that
> practical thinking and speech have different roots, and that is one of the
> key tenets of "Thinking and Speech".
> In his lecture on the Crisis at One, Vygotsky wonders aloud:
> a) Do Kohler's apes really use tools? What kind of a tool is a box if it
> loses all its tool-power when a chimp looking for a box to stand on to get
> a banana sees another chimp sleeping on a box and, after trying to jump and
> get the banana fruitlessly for fifteen minutes or so, just lies down next
> to the chimp on the box and goes to sleep? Isn't this a little like the
> child's forays into autonomous speech?
> b) Does walking have the same relationship to physical space that
> proto-speech has to social space?
> Here's where Andy comes in handy. Remember what he said about trying to
> catch the concept in its becoming and not just its being.
> Yes, Vygotsky says that that Kohler's apes use "proto-tools", and that in
> the same negative, not-quite-there-yet, sense, the child's autonomous
> speech is a kind of proto-speech. This is not a tool and that is not
> speech, but both COULD be, and WOULD develop in that direction, given the
> right social situation of development. They are, in my terminology,
> exaptable affordances.
> No, Vygotsky says that walking is a permanent adaptation to the
> environment, while proto-speech is a critical neoformation which has no
> independent role to play in subsequent development (although it does become
> a dependent part of permanent speech in the form of intonation, stress,
> onomatopoeia, etc).
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
> On Wed, May 11, 2016 at 6:30 AM, Greg Mcverry <jgregmcverry@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> So if phonemes do not exist and were only created as a unit of analysis to
>> understand language once a language has been mapped to a written system
>> what does this say about mediating and mediated activity?
>> What I mean then going back to the earlier argument of whether there is
>> co-evolution of both development in tools. In other words we know how
>> children (atleast in English) develop phonemic awareness. There are clear
>> developmental milestones that occur in the same order in almost every
>> child. No one can substitute a phoneme before they can segment phonemes.
>> If the tool of written language had to be created before phonemes existed,
>> and phoneme recognition and manipulation happens in such a systematic and
>> developmental way does this not prove tool creation leads to changes in
>> development?
>> On Fri, May 6, 2016 at 5:31 PM David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Not at all, Helen; if you go back over the thread, you'll see that your
>>> contribution was pivotal. I am usually, just like you; I skim things, and
>>> look askance when life is elsewhere. Maybe you didn't have time to sit
>>> through the animations of proto-Indo-European spreading across the
>> steppes
>>> like a reversal of the Mongol conquests, but on that morning I did so I
>> did
>>> it for you. This morning, though, I'm translating, so I'll be short and
>>> apologize in advance for mansplainin' atcha.
>>> Voila: if you are trying to decide if a rock is a meteorite, and if it
>> may
>>> have come from Mars, and if those little globules that you think you
>>> discern amongst the crystals might be fossilized bacteria, then it really
>>> does matter if your microscope lens is clean. Similarly, if you trying to
>>> learn a language, phonemes can be extremely useful--but so can
>> substitution
>>> tables, glossaries, fictional dialogues, drills and any number of
>> language
>>> exercises that we do not use in the study of language or even in daily
>>> conversation. The mere fact that they are very useful doesn't mean they
>>> exist outside the particular learning task you are trying to accomplish
>>> (James famously argued that God must exist, because he's just such a
>> handy
>>> bloke to have around).
>>> When you are trying to decide if phonemic variation is a clue to the time
>>> and place language was first created--or even when you are trying to
>> decide
>>> if there was a single creative moment, or if language just "co-evolved"
>>> wherever there were social groups of early man large enough to carry out
>>> joint activities--then it matters whether or not phonemes really exist.
>> If
>>> phonemes are simply produced in the act of describing language (after
>> all,
>>> describing a language is really just folding language back on itself)
>> then
>>> variation in their number variation cannot be construed as a faint echo
>> of
>>> a distant "big bang".
>>> Let me make one final point. I am reading the work of the French and
>> Swiss
>>> Vygotskyans these days. Unlike the work of Yasnitsky and van der Veer,
>> this
>>> is work which takes CHAT quite seriously. Andy is often cited, and so are
>>> Martin--and of course Mike. The treatment is not uncritical, but one of
>> the
>>> things that is really appreciated is this: when you are studying any
>>> cultural-historical (or, as they like to say, "historico-culturelle")
>>> phenomenon, it really does matter what the people who produced it
>> thought.
>>> Phonemes, that is, minimal differences which do not themselves bear
>> meaning
>>> but which do allow us to distinguish between segments that do bear
>>> meaning, were "discovered" (well, invented, actually) in the
>> mid-twentieth
>>> century. When Vygotsky refers to "phonemes", he is usually talking about
>>> meaning-bearing elements such as case endings or tense endings which we
>>> would call "morphemes" today.
>>> Which brings me back to translating and above all annotating. Because, as
>>> we learn when we read how Vygotsky is "applied" to language teaching,
>> when
>>> you are studying Vygotsky, it really does matter what Vygotsky thought he
>>> was doing....
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Macquarie University
>>> On Fri, May 6, 2016 at 6:40 PM, Helen Harper <helen.harper@bigpond.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> 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