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[Xmca-l] Re: The Stuff of Words

Up to this point of time , an old antique memory remembered unprecedented insistence on words being 'material' and within our present discussion we have the authority who is dear and respectable to all of us documenting the materiality of word through its laying on or fusion into many types of solid hard mass referred to succinctly by David from the soft stuff of the ear up to the walls of Palmira , our Passargad , the Taj Mahal (Roy Harris) and all the monumental inscriptions through the great globe , yet we see here crystal clear that "... The point is to understand how tables are signs and words are material 
objects." After all dementia (mine) works its way!
I think I as a dwarf of the giants can find many many tables which are signs now before I write a will to my heirs to be on the alert for the time when such conversions appear. Right at the white house , all castles , all museums , all monuments , all historical places , maybe all large libraries , etc. there are tables which have been being kept or are now being kept neat and safe and healthy and partially on display for the public to visit and refresh their soul watching these memorable precious invaluable ideal/signs. But with the words so far considered 'material' even recently in its mere concrete form I'm in swerving state. Can I give examples of its being 'material'? or material object? Or can I risk and find my way of announcing in its entirety and totality it's one 'ideal'.

[[“Marxist psychology” ... [is] the only genuine psychology as a science. A psychology other
than this cannot exist. And the other way around: everything that was and is genuinely
scientifc belongs to Marxist psychology. This concept is broader than the concept of [scientifc]
school or even current. It coincides with the concept scientific per se, no matter where and by
whom it may have been developed.
(Vygotsky, Crisis) 
“Vygotsky set a great example of how to master the historical
method; he showed us how to apply Marx and Lenin’s methodology to concrete
studies in one of the most formidable fields of knowledge [psychology]” (cited in
Levitin, 1982, p. 173). He also describes Vygotsky as the “leading Marxist
theoretician among us” (Luria, 1979, Chapter 3). He says that
My entire generation was infused with the energy of revolutionary change—
the liberating energy people feel when they are part of a society that is able
to make tremendous progress in a very short time. … The limits of our
restricted, private world were broken down by the Revolution, and new
vistas opened before us. We were swept up in a great historical movement.
Our private interests were consumed by the wider social goals of a new,
collective society. 

This atmosphere immediately following the Revolution provided the
energy for many ambitious ventures. An entire society was liberated to turn
its creative powers to constructing a new kind of life for everyone.
(Ibid., Chapter 1)
Marxist philosophy, one of the world’s more complex systems of thought,
was assimilated slowly by Soviet scholars, myself included. Properly speaking,
I never really mastered Marxism to the degree I would have liked. I still
consider this to have been a major shortcoming in my education.
(Ibid., Chapter 2)]]
I think Luria died in 1977? Ilyenko in 1979? Did they get into 'unconvinced' marxist scholars? Davydov said he was a convinced marxist. The Piaterka? worked as convinced marxists. Felix Mikhailov , etc.etc.

Alfredo back many posts exclaimed : Wow! for the coming out of a book (containing the above quotes as a small part) in relation to to what extent Vygotsky was a true Marxist. The introduction says all contributors to the volume belong to a STRONG take on the approach to Vygotsky as a convinced marxist. 
In relation to the quote from Marx , did he really believed philosophers should have given language an independent existence as they had previously given thought an independent existence? And this is used as evidence for the priority and precedence of word? What happened to the dialectics? Antique? Could we make a concession as to turn once again Hegel to his right place and reproach ourselves for accusing him as to have laid things upside down? live under protection of HIS SPIRIT ABSOLUTE?

Teacher : the hands of the clock is ideal.Student : But Sir! Wouldn't you think the whole clock is ideal?
The fluttering aimless ideal this time erred , sat on just two sharp harming material stuff!
The student is now confused!
Highest regards to all!

       From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
 To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu 
 Sent: Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 6:27:17
 Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Stuff of Words
Personally, I think the first and most persistently 
important thing is to see how much alike are tables and words.

But ... Vygotsky was very insistent on the distinction 
because he was fighting a battle against the idea that 
speech ought to be subsumed under the larger category of 
labour. He had to fight for semiotics against a vulgar kind 
of orthodox Marxism. But we here in 2017 are living in 
different times, where we have Discourse Theory and 
Linguistics while Marxism is widely regarded as antique. As 
Marx said "Just as philosophers have given thought an 
independent existence, so they were bound to make language 
into an independent realm." and we live well and truly in 
the times when labour is subsumed under language, and not 
the other way around.

Everyone knows that a table is unlike a word. The point it 
to understand how tables are signs and word are material 


(BTW David, back in 1986 I walked in an offshoot of the 
bionic ear project. The ear has a little keyboard that works 
like a piano keyboard in reverse, making a real time Fourier 
transform of that air pressure wave and coding the harmonics 
it in nerve impulse. The brain never hears that pressure 

Andy Blunden

On 3/05/2017 7:06 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote:
> David (and or Mike, Andy, anyone else), could you give a bit more on that distinction between words and tables?
> And could you say how (and whether) (human, hand) nails are different from tables; and then how nails are different from words?
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> Sent: 01 May 2017 08:43
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l]  The Stuff of Words
> Gordon Wells quotes this from an article Mike wrote in a Festschrift for
> George Miller. Mike is talking about artefacts:
> "They are ideal in that they contain in coded form the interactions of
> which they
> were previously a part and which they mediate in the present (e.g., the
> structure of
> a pencil carries within it the history of certain forms of writing). They
> are material
> in that they are embodied in material artifacts. This principle applies
> with equal
> force whether one is considering language/speech or the more usually noted
> forms
> of artifacts such as tables and knives which constitute material culture.
> What
> differentiates a word, such as “language” from, say, a table. is the
> relative prominence
> of their material and ideal aspects. No word exists apart from its material
> instantiation (as a configuration of sound waves, or hand movements, or as
> writing,
> or as neuronal activity), whereas every table embodies an order imposed by
> thinking
> human beings."
> This is the kind of thing that regularly gets me thrown out of journals by
> the ear. Mike says that the difference between a word and a table is the
> relative salience of the ideal and the material. Sure--words are full of
> the ideal, and tables are full of material. Right?
> Nope. Mike says it's the other way around. Why? Well, because a word
> without some word-stuff (sound or graphite) just isn't a word. In a
> word, meaning is solidary with material sounding: change one, and you
> change the other. But with a table, what you start with is the idea of the
> table; as soon as you've got that idea, you've got a table. You could
> change the material to anything and you'd still have a table.
> Wells doesn't throw Mike out by the ear. But he does ignore the delightful
> perversity in what Mike is saying, and what he gets out of the quote is
> just that words are really just like tools. When in fact Mike is saying
> just the opposite.
> (The part I don't get is Mike's notion that the structure of a pencil
> carries within it the history of certain forms of writing. Does he mean
> that the length of the pencil reflects how often it's been used? Or is he
> making a more archaeological point about graphite, wood, rubber and their
> relationship to a certain point in the history of writing and erasing?
> Actually, pencils are more like tables than like words--the idea has to
> come first.)
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University