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[Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse
Vera (and others),
Yes, I agree that the pace of the listserve often goes at breakneck speeds.
I can't keep up. As a result, I am left with the options of either not
responding (ever) or failing to read everything and responding ignorantly
(I chose the latter this time).
I have heard some folks kick around the possibility of spinning off topics
and I wonder if there might be a way to do this productively. I'm not sure
that the current approach of just threading conversations is enough to
provide a quiet enough space for productive (i.e., productive for everyone)
conversations to happen. I think this thread is a case and point - it feels
like there are three or four different directions that are spinning off
into and one wonders how to respond to all at the same time.
We might ask: How do we resolve this in natural conversation such as at a
cocktail party? We form smaller groups with people that can slow down and
discuss an idea in more depth while also naturally blocking out the sound
from surrounding conversations. Such groups are seldom bigger than 6 or 7
active participants (one huge advantage of list serves is that these
conversations are not lost to history but exist in an archive that people
can go back to and learn from if they want to).
In cocktail party conversation, it seems that anytime we get groups larger
than this it quickly takes on the nature of lecture - with just one or a
couple people acting as "lecturers" (or, more commonly, "joke tellers") and
the rest acting as audience. I'm trying to think of cases that differ, in
particular some kind of ideal of democratic participation. Zucotti Park put
to use that fabulous idea of "the people's microphone," but that was only
using the people's voices in service of what one person had to say
(Goffman's "author", the rest were just using their voices as "animators").
It had a neat effect but didn't seem as if all voices (i.e. authors) were
This suggests to me that there is something about the cacophony of voices
on a listserve that, while delightfully democratic, might be too difficult
to practically manage.
And so I find the idea of enabling spin-off conversations an appealing
idea. How to do that with a listserve? I have no idea...
Any tech folks out there savvy enough to suggest a solution?
On Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 2:06 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <email@example.com> wrote:
> There is the presence of logic in Eastern cultures. So logic was not
> invented in the West.
> It is true that basic thinking is associative, and logic is learned. But
> once learned, it is a part of human cognition. That's why I say it is not
> done with elbows and knees. The problem with the form of Western logic, as
> I see it, is that it doesn't seem to take into account The Total, or if you
> prefer, The Context. There is no logical means in the West of dealing with
> contexts and wholes. What I cherish about Vygotsky is that he was
> attempting to deal with that problem (i.e., the problem with the
> That is why we have the issues we do with class, with climate change, and
> even perhaps impending epidemics and food shortages – based on the way we
> produce our food and administer medicine. Western logic (if you want to say
> "by invention") considers only the particular. That is the Cartesian way,
> but it is not the only way. Unfortunately that particular way and its
> particular application is frequently administered in harmful ways, and the
> motivation for those harmful ways is informed by the underlying values of
> the people using the logic. There have been, are, and will be beneficial
> uses of Western logic for doing lots good, but like any tool, it can be
> The problems that we face have nothing to do with an exercise of too much
> logic (I'd offer it's too little and in the wrong way). It is the absence
> of using that logic in a nourishing manner, a way that is not harmful, and
> is compassionate.
> I'm not sure why anyone would want to disagree with that.
> Also, I would like to know for clarification what is meant by "chaining"
> in the context of this thread. It seems the word is used in different ways,
> so I was hoping it might be explained more explicitly. I know I'm not the
> only one trying to understand that. I think I know, but I would like
> clarification. If it isn't an imposition.
> Kind regards,
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
> on behalf of mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Friday, November 4, 2016 9:43 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse
> Is this equivalent to what Vygotsky referred to as chaining?
> But one of the results that cognitive scientists have clearly established
> is that human reasoning, in general, is associative, not logical. Our
> conceptual structures are associatively linked, meaning that concepts
> conjure up other, related concepts. Our reasoning is a kind of juggling of
> these linked concepts.
> On Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 8:29 AM, David H Kirshner <email@example.com> wrote:
> > Annalisa,
> > Recognizing that Jacob and others may see it differently, I agree with
> > that logic is not gendered.
> > I do disagree, though, with your final statement that "Logic isn't a
> > Western invention, by the way. It's very much part of human cognition."
> > What I think is sustainable is the position that reasoning is very much a
> > part of human cognition. But one of the results that cognitive scientists
> > have clearly established is that human reasoning, in general, is
> > associative, not logical. Our conceptual structures are associatively
> > linked, meaning that concepts conjure up other, related concepts. Our
> > reasoning is a kind of juggling of these linked concepts.
> > One of the classical studies that established this perspective concerns
> > Margie the bank teller:
> > Margie is bright, single, 31 year old, outspoken, and concerned with
> > issues of social justice.
> > What is more likely
> > A) Margie is a bank teller, or
> > B) Margie is a bank teller and Margie is a feminist.
> > (If you're not familiar with this problem, take a moment to answer it.)
> > ...
> > The logical analysis holds that Margie is more likely to be a bank teller
> > than both a bank teller and a feminist because choice A includes the
> > possibility that Margie is a bank teller and a feminist as well as the
> > possibility that Margie is a bank teller and not a feminist, but choice B
> > includes only one of those possibilities.
> > But the vast majority of subjects tested select choice B, which the
> > cognitive psychologists take as indicating that we are guided by our
> > associations to people like Margie rather than by the logical conditions
> > the problem.
> > In my view, logic as a discursive form--a technology of thought--is a
> > Western invention. Whether it is identified as "male" because of
> > association or biological predisposition, I don't know, and I should
> add, I
> > don't care. (Jacob, the science of biologically based sex differences in
> > cognition has not been "debunked." Rather, feminist scholars have rightly
> > pointed out that the data are inconclusive, and that prior assertions of
> > biologically based sex differences in cognition over-interpret the
> > scientific results.) Neither history nor biology is determinative, and
> > logic is too important a part of our cultural legacy to deny any
> > or group the opportunity to master it.
> > David
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> > mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Annalisa Aguilar
> > Sent: Friday, November 4, 2016 12:28 AM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <email@example.com>; Vera
> > John-Steiner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse
> > Hi,
> > About logic: to Greg M., Actually, I thought it was Jacob who discussed
> > logic in gendered discourse. Unless you brought it up a long time ago in
> > the group he references. I was under the impression that he had attempted
> > to bring it up a few times in the past. Or am I mistaken?
> > In his reply on timestamped Nov 03, 08:30:41 he stated:
> > "Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, but several listserv
> > members--including me--have tried to introduce this position re: logic in
> > prior xmca threads. The position has mostly either been ignored or loudly
> > rejected out of hand by more vocal participants on this listserv."
> > So I was responding to that paragraph.
> > I am not clear about Jacob's position but my position is that logic is an
> > intellectual tool, just like intuition can be an emotional tool. Insight
> > might be a combination of both logic and intuition. But nothing about
> > makes it male, as I see it, no matter how much men might assert that to
> > the case.
> > Logic is reasoning in a particular way with the mind, and any human can
> > partake in it if one wants. You can't perform logic with your elbows and
> > knees. Counting has a logic. So does self-preservation.
> > What one does with logic has to do with one's values. If your values are
> > for a pure race, for example, you can certainly use logic to rationalize
> > activities that purify race however you might want to define it. Does
> > make logic a tool to create meaning that is essentially determined by
> > power? Or is it just abuse of logic to assert one's power (over others,
> > which is actually being powerless, since one who is truly powerful does
> > require power over others), which at its basis, is meaningless?
> > Also, I don't think that Rein was saying gender is fluid. He said it is
> > constructed:
> > "... in other words, what cultures have "naturalized" as divisions into
> > genders are more often than not constructions erected by a gender group
> > order to dominate others. Such construction, I would argue, can only be
> > taken down with arguments that follow a logic which itself is not
> > because if it were, it would be a contestant in the field, not the
> > I believe if I read him as he wanted to be read, I think he's saying that
> > logic is not gendered, which I agree with. The fact that we can say "a
> > logic" means the application of that logic has a boundary, but it doesn't
> > mean that this logic is different than that logic. It means if I use a
> > hammer on a house, I can also use it to bash in skulls. The tool is the
> > same, the application is different, as are the values motivating its use.
> > The boundaries are the objectives for using the logic, not the logic
> > itself. Of course we can bicker over the forms of mallets, claw hammers,
> > rocks for hitting things and their differences, but the activity of
> > hammering is the same. The values, motivations, and objectives are
> > different, which offer the boundary, however the activity remains the
> > despite those boundaries.
> > Logic isn't a Western invention, by the way. It's very much part of human
> > cognition. Rationalism I suppose could be Western, but I reserve the
> > to be wrong about that.
> > Kind regards,
> > Annalisa
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602