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[Xmca-l] Re: ZPD and DST!



Michael, thanks for sharing Nancy's reflections. 

I'd like to complement them with those by B. Latour. These are notes from the online version of his 2013 book, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence, which in its digital version is enhanced with notations by Latour and other readers. The following are part of Latour's annotations concerning the term 'mediation'.


- 1 -
The term mediation has been prevalent in actor-network theory, where it was a useful contrast to intermediary: in a course of action grasped in the habit mode or, more accurately, in Double Click, all sequences are aligned, precisely, as if they didn't have agency; there are only intermediaries. But as soon as things get complicated (and [hab], habit, is one of those complications), each intermediary becomes a mediation: a possible branch, and a hiatus in any case. In aime, since the term has no opposite, it does not play a major role, except to be synonymous with a hiatus, pass or stage on a trajectory always to be taken up again.
- 2 -
Like the term "construction", the term "mediation" is difficult to stabilize while it does the opposite of what we want to make it do (which is an interesting proposition in itself!): inevitably, as soon as we trace its etymology it means what bridge a gap, it becomes an intermediary between two banks that are, themselves, well established. Whereas, mediation is of interest, ontologically, only when instead of meaning a bridge, it means a gap, or a least the movement that goes from one mediation to the next. It is because of this ambiguity that the term is difficult to define and use.
- 3 -
>From the ontological point of view, the notion of mediation takes from the notion of substance the concept of "causa sui" (relative), but not the persistent substrate used in the philosophy of the being-as-being. In the fullest sense - if we are able to maintain it - mediation is what is divided by classical philosophy into three functions: freedom, determination, grace. Bad luck! It is all three at once! Relatively autonomous, it overflows with grace. The concept of mediation gets the most out of this confusion, this metaxu, this excluded middle, whose existence is an abomination in the philosophy of being but which is the norm in the philosophy of aime. Mediation is precisely that which is, at once, and in the same respect, a thing and its opposite. A feature that can be added to its classical definitions: that which is neither an end nor a mere means, that which is not quite a cause and not quite a consequence either ...
- 4 -
Mediation is synonymous with “actual occasions”, in the Whiteheadian sense, and no more; it changes the typical expression of the philosophy of being "omnis determinatio est negatio" to "omnis determinatio est affirmatio". It recognizes antecedents and consequences for each event but these are neither causes nor effects, neither are they potentialities nor actualizations. Rather, they are permissions and promises; entities are promised to and permitted by; they are, in time.
- 6 -
The problem is that if mediation means "that which passes to something else from something", it becomes a medium, an intermediary and, thus, loses the ability to be its own end - and therefore to become synonymous with entelechy - but entelechy has the opposite problem: if, from the fact that it is its own end, one concludes that it is identical to itself (the conclusion drawn by being-as-being), thus the other beings necessary for its existence are lost.
- 7 -
The image war that has never ceased to define the dynamism and weaknesses of the West depends entirely on the initial choice: for if being is defined as b-a-b, mediations are indeed superfluous, they are merely attributes of substance (which alone exists, in this case), or worse, they become parasites or veils that hide substance. If the being is defined as B-A-O, however, mediations are all that we have to lead us to objects of value. But since being-as-being leads only to nihilism, representations are bound to proliferate in any case, and even more so if we deny their necessity. We are faced, thus, with the Iconoclash: a proliferation of images and continual doubts as to their virtue.
________________________________________
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Wolff-Michael Roth <wolffmichael.roth@gmail.com>
Sent: 31 March 2017 15:54
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: ZPD and DST!

Sorry, my last message crossed that of Andy, but is a response to it as
well. For those who do not know Jean-Luc Nancy, he is probably one of the
leading philosophers in Europe, who also has a lot to say of the body (not
in the least in his *Corpus*). Michael

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor
Applied Cognitive Science
MacLaurin Building A567
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2
http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/>

New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics
<https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new-directions-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-mathematics-of-mathematics/>*

On Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 6:37 AM, Robert Lake <boblake@georgiasouthern.edu>
wrote:

> That 2 cents goes a long, long generative way Andy. Thanks!
>
> Robert
>
> On Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 6:52 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>
> > My 2 cents ...
> >
> > 1. Both Hegel and C. S. Peirce promoted mediation not only as essentially
> > ubiquitous, but as *generative*, in the sense that since every relation
> is
> > mediated, every new relation generates a new (mediating) relation. It is
> a
> > method of enquiry which is forever uncovering new relations. I would call
> > this the methodological aspect of mediation. To fail to enquire into
> > mediation is effectively to close off enquiry and settle for some kind of
> > dichotomy or taxonomy.
> >
> > 2. Vygotsky's *artefact mediation*, is a distinctive type of mediation,
> to
> > which other approaches to mind are largely blind. Artefact mediation is
> not
> > the answer to every problem of psychology. And it wasn't for Vygotsky
> > either.
> >
> > Andy
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > Andy Blunden
> > http://home.mira.net/~andy
> > http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
> > On 31/03/2017 8:44 PM, Huw Lloyd wrote:
> >
> >> The title has a somewhat oxymoronic flavour to it, Alfredo.  Theorising
> >> gets more interesting when it consists of a minimum of a 3-term system,
> >> and
> >> in such a system one term can always be indexed as a mediating one in
> >> relation to the other two.  All the problems arise when these terms are
> >> reduced to 2-term systems (formal logic, statistical associations,
> >> descriptions based upon typed categories) in which the mediators are
> >> elements of a non-unitary analysis.
> >>
> >> The issues of misuse of 'mediators' as elements rather than as part of a
> >> unit is structurally similar to applying formal logic categories such as
> >> "every" and "there exists" to thinking in terms of complexes, in which
> >> these phrases merely limit the (1 term) bonding rather than applying to
> >> the
> >> (2 term) hierarchical constructs that they are about.  In LSV Vol. 1 we
> >> have a 3+ term analysis (dialectic) of the development of 1-term
> thinking
> >> (complexes) towards 2-term thinking (formal logic).
> >>
> >> Best,
> >> Huw
> >>
> >> On 31 March 2017 at 06:21, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >> Thanks a lot for sharing the article, Michael. And yes, considering
> those
> >>> copy-distribution issues is important in a forum like this. Is nice to
> be
> >>> able to check with you/us authors on how to best share our work.
> >>>
> >>> On the issue of Theorizing with/out mediators, Huw, in the article we
> do
> >>> recognize the viability of the option you suggest: not dismissing but
> >>> pursuing an 'adequate' (or 'more developed'  that may mean)
> understanding
> >>> of the concept. Still, we recommend the other route, and this is part
> of
> >>> my
> >>> view.
> >>>
> >>> I think the problem concerns a confusion between treating mediation as
> a
> >>> sort of universal premise that 'applies' to everything or as an
> >>> analytical
> >>> concept that 'explains' everything. For example, David K. in his post
> >>> treats the phrase that 'if mediation explains everything then it
> explains
> >>> nothing' as being analog to the sentence 'if perception applies to all
> >>> visible phenomena then it applies to none of them.' 'Applies' and
> >>> 'Explain', however, seem two very different words to me. You may want
> to
> >>> say that mediation applies to all and every human action/relation. But
> >>> then
> >>> this is not to say that you are explaining any of them. As I view it,
> >>> mediation should not be thought of as an analytical unit in the same
> >>> sense
> >>> that perezhivanie is, for it is not a concrete unit. In fact, following
> >>> on
> >>> David's example, *perception* can indeed be accounted for if you
> develop
> >>> and further understand the category perezhivanie. And still, you will
> not
> >>> want to use perezhivanie to account for every and any aspect of human
> >>> existence. Nor every instance of 'human(ing)' will be perezhivanie
> >>> (unless
> >>> you reserve the term 'human' to a very specific set of all the things
> we
> >>> human-looking animals do.).
> >>>
> >>> Alfredo
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> ________________________________________
> >>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> >
> >>> on behalf of mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
> >>> Sent: 31 March 2017 02:38
> >>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> >>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: ZPD and DST!
> >>>
> >>> Thanks Michael.
> >>> Establishing fair use in the xmca community seems an important task.
> >>>
> >>> Your solution works given current uncertainties.
> >>>
> >>> mike
> >>>
> >>> On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 5:29 PM, Wolff-Michael Roth <
> >>> wolffmichael.roth@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Hi Mike, all,
> >>>> Because I don't know what big companies can do to us if we violate
> >>>> signed
> >>>> copyright release, I am more than hesitant to send the type-set
> version
> >>>> they published. However, I am appending the final version of the
> >>>>
> >>> manuscript
> >>>
> >>>> that prior to acceptance.
> >>>> Cheers,
> >>>> Michael
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >>>> --------------------
> >>>> Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor
> >>>> Applied Cognitive Science
> >>>> MacLaurin Building A567
> >>>> University of Victoria
> >>>> Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2
> >>>> http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/>
> >>>>
> >>>> New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics
> >>>> <https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new-
> >>>> directions-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-
> >>>> mathematics-of-mathematics/>*
> >>>>
> >>>> On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 5:09 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>> Michael --
> >>>>>
> >>>>> XMCA has been operating as an educational collective among whom
> >>>>>
> >>>> relevant
> >>>
> >>>> written materials are circulated as they are needed for the the
> >>>>>
> >>>> members'
> >>>
> >>>> education.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Would it incur Springer's wrath to make the paper directly available?
> >>>>>
> >>>>> mike
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 3:26 PM, Wolff-Michael Roth <
> >>>>> wolffmichael.roth@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Hi all, I did not realize that my reference wasn't updated. The paper
> >>>>>>
> >>>>> is
> >>>>
> >>>>> here:
> >>>>>> https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12124-016-9376-0
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> and by personal request Alfredo or I will mail a copy to those not
> >>>>>> operating at a uni with access to Springer Link.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Michael
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >>>>>> --------------------
> >>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor
> >>>>>> Applied Cognitive Science
> >>>>>> MacLaurin Building A567
> >>>>>> University of Victoria
> >>>>>> Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2
> >>>>>> http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/
> >
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics
> >>>>>> <https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new-
> >>>>>> directions-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-
> >>>>>> mathematics-of-mathematics/>*
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 2:33 PM, Wolff-Michael Roth <
> >>>>>> wolffmichael.roth@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Hi David, you will disagree even more with this one:
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Roth, W.-M., & Jornet, A. (in press). Theorizing with/out
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> "mediators."
> >>>>
> >>>>> Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> But people like Feliks Mikhailov, and also Ekaterina Zavershneva
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> indicate
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> that toward the end of his life, Vygotsy was moving away from
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> mediation.
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> We
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> give an extended argument for theorizing without mediators in the
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> article.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> But I hope you understand that I am not out to interpret and find
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> out
> >>>
> >>>> what
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Vygotsky really said even if he did not say it. I think you are
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> well
> >>>
> >>>> positioned to do THAT kind of research. I want to move on. And,
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> frankly,
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> I
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> have no clue what people are saying when they write that something
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> is
> >>>
> >>>> mediated. It seems to me that they are hiding or refraining from
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> going
> >>>>
> >>>>> after what I am interested in. I am not interested in knowing that
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> a
> >>>
> >>>> tool
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> mediates something. I am interested in what the tool actually does,
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> what
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> are the events in which tools participate, shape people and get
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> shaped
> >>>>
> >>>>> by
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> them.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> In the end, all this is about finding suitable discourses, and
> >>>>>>> descriptions, for doing the kinds of things we want to do.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> m
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >>>>>>> --------------------
> >>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor
> >>>>>>> Applied Cognitive Science
> >>>>>>> MacLaurin Building A567
> >>>>>>> University of Victoria
> >>>>>>> Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2
> >>>>>>> http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> faculty/mroth/>
> >>>
> >>>> New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics
> >>>>>>> <https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new-
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> directions-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-
> >>>>>> mathematics-of-mathematics/>*
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 2:22 PM, David Kellogg <
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> dkellogg60@gmail.com
> >>>
> >>>> wrote:
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> I think the Roth article I would recommend isn't the editorial,
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> but
> >>>
> >>>> rather
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> this one:
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> Roth, W-M. 2007. On Mediation: Towards a Cultural Historical
> >>>>>>>> Understanding.
> >>>>>>>> Theory and Psychology 17 (5): 655-680.
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> There's a lot I disagree with in this paper (e.g. I disagree with
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> the
> >>>>
> >>>>> idea
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> that if mediation "explains" everything then it explains
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> nothing--it
> >>>
> >>>> is
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> like saying that if perception applies to all visible phenomena
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> then
> >>>
> >>>> it
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> applies to none of them). But here's why I prefer it to Saeed's
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> paper:
> >>>>
> >>>>> a) Roth gets to concrete examples from direct experience almost
> >>>>>>>> immediately
> >>>>>>>> (fish feeding, on p. 656). This gives me something to go back to
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> when
> >>>>
> >>>>> I
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> get
> >>>>>>>> lost in abstraction, and I need it.
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> b) Instead of using Theory A to illuminate Theory B, Roth goes
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> back
> >>>
> >>>> into
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> the historical origins of Theory A and discovers, immanently,
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Theory
> >>>
> >>>> B,
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> C,
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> etc.. This has two advantages: it avoids chalk-and-cheese
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> eclecticism,
> >>>>
> >>>>> and
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> it helps me understand how Theory A was formed in the first place.
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> With
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> Saeed's paper, I find myself missing: 1) an account of the
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> CRITICAL
> >>>
> >>>> DISTINCTIONS between the two theories, 2) an explanation of how
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> each
> >>>
> >>>> MAKES
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> UP for what the other lacks, and 3) some argument for long term
> >>>>>>>> COMPATABILITY, some explication of why the emulsion will not
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> re-separate,
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> like vinegar and oil.
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> c) For Vygotsky--no, for mediation more generally--the key problem
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> is
> >>>>
> >>>>> volition, free will, choice. Vygotsky once said that the most
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> interesting
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> problem in the whole of psychology, bar none, is what a human
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> being
> >>>
> >>>> would
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> really do in the situation of Buridan's donkey (that is a
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> situation
> >>>
> >>>> of
> >>>>
> >>>>> volition, of free will, of choice where the outcomes were either
> >>>>>>>> apparently
> >>>>>>>> equal or equally unknown). This isn't true of DST, which has, as
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Saeed
> >>>>
> >>>>> admits, an "emergentist" account of volition (to put it
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> uncharitably,
> >>>>
> >>>>> handwaving and magic). At the very least, choice is late emerging
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> in a
> >>>>
> >>>>> DST
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> account, and that makes, for example, the child's early and
> >>>>>>>> successful acquisition of speech very hard to explain.
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> That said, Saeed--I DID appreciate the part on p. 86 where you
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> remind
> >>>>
> >>>>> us
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> that learning and development are distinct but linked. As
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Wolff-Michael
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> says, the point has been made before, but I think that we've got
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> to
> >>>
> >>>> keep
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> saying this, until people really see that mixing up "microgenesis"
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> and
> >>>>
> >>>>> ontogenesis is, in our own time, the same kind of error that
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> mixing
> >>>
> >>>> up
> >>>>
> >>>>> ontogenesis and phylogenesis was in Vygotsky's. If I read one more
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> article
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> which invokes the ZPD for some trivial incident of learning, I'm
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> getting a
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> tattoo that says: "Look here, mate, just because it didn't kill ya
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> doesn't
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> mean it made ya any stronger".
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> David Kellogg
> >>>>>>>> Macquarie University
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>
> >
>
>
> --
> Robert Lake  Ed.D.
> Associate Professor
> Social Foundations of Education
> Dept. of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
> Georgia Southern University
> P. O. Box 8144, Statesboro, GA  30460
> Secretary/Treasurer-AERA- Paulo Freire Special Interest Group
> Webpage: https://georgiasouthern.academia.edu/RobertLake*Democracy must be
> born anew in every generation, and education is its midwife.* John
> Dewey-*Democracy
> and Education*,1916, p. 139
>