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[Xmca-l] Re: The Stuff of Words



David,
Is it fair to assume
All words are symbols
All words are indices
All words are icons

However, the relationality (and ways of integrating) all 3 INEFFABLE primitives is key. 

My attempt to follow what you refer to as being a (theme) 

Also the couplet (placing/displacing) seems relevant to this theme in relation to context of the situation.


Sent from my Windows 10 phone

From: Andy Blunden
Sent: May 7, 2017 7:30 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Stuff of Words

The reason why I picked out icon/index/symbol of all the 
many firstness/secondness/thirdnesses Peirce offers us is 
that all the rest are found in Hegel and systematically 
elaborated there. But not icon/index/symbol. As you know 
Greg I am not one of those that think that The Phenomenology 
is the only book Hegel wrote, so I will refer you to the 
Science of Logic, chapter on the Concept (a.k.a. Notion).

Andy

------------------------------------------------------------
Andy Blunden
http://home.mira.net/~andy
http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making 

On 8/05/2017 12:12 PM, Greg Thompson wrote:
> Andy (and others),
>
> I agree that Peirce seems a good complement to Hegel.
>
> One interesting bit where there seems to be some overlap 
> is in Hegel's interest in what Silverstein calls, using 
> Peircean language, "referential indexicals" (these are 
> signs which have referential value but their referential 
> value is primarily indexical - pronouns are a classic 
> example, but see my next sentence for more examples). I 
> can't recall where I saw this in Hegel's writing but it 
> seems like he has a bit somewhere on "Here, This, Now" (as 
> translated). Do you recall where this is? Or what Hegel is 
> "up to" in that section? I've always wondered.
>
> As mentioned above, Silverstein makes quite a bit of the 
> importance of referential indexicals in everyday talk. He 
> calls them the "skeleton" on which we hang the rest of 
> discourse (and without which, our discourse would be 
> meaningless). And closer to home, in Stanton Wortham's 
> essay Mapping Participant Deictics, Wortham makes the case 
> for the importance of mapping participant deictics in the 
> talk of a classroom. He argues that you can understand 
> quite a bit about the social structure of a classroom by 
> following how different participant deictics are deployed.
>
> Anyway, back to Hegel, Andy, I'd be interested to hear 
> about Hegel and his Here, This, Now.
>
> Thanks,
> -greg
>
>
> On Sun, May 7, 2017 at 6:32 PM, Andy Blunden 
> <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>
>     Oh Henry I don't see Peirce as Linguist. Only a
>     Linguist would see Peirce as a Linguist, because they
>     see everything as a branch of Linguistics. I see
>     Peirce as a Philosopher. And he could claim to be
>     utterly incapable of managing his own life as the
>     foremost qualification for being a philosopher. Peirce
>     was a Logician who invented two different schools of
>     philosophy: Pragmatism and Semiotics.
>
>     I value Peirce's Icon/Index/Symbol in particular
>     because it is a logical triad which Hegel never
>     theorised and it nicely complements Hegel helping us
>     understand how Logic is in the world. For Peirce,
>     Semiotics is something going on in Nature before it is
>     acquired by human beings, which is an idea I
>     appreciate. He is also worthy of praise for how he
>     overcame all kinds of Dualism with both his Semiotics
>     and his Pragmaticism.
>
>     A total madman. A real Metaphysician,
>
>     Andy
>
>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>     Andy Blunden
>     http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>
>     http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
>     <http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making>
>
>     On 8/05/2017 3:22 AM, HENRY SHONERD wrote:
>
>         David and Andy,
>         I have seen Peirce’s categories firstness,
>         secondness and thirdness on the chat before, and
>         certainly you were part of that discussion. I
>         would like to understand that better, also how it
>         relates to the three categories of signs (iconic,
>         indexical and symbolic). I have been reading your
>         “Thinking of Feeling” piece and wonder how that
>         might relate, which I hope so, since it would
>         bring development into the mix. Also (sorry!),
>         Andy’s Academia articles on political
>         representation and activity/social theory are
>         probably relevant in some way, though Andy
>         probably sees language as a figure against a
>         larger ground and a linguist (like Peirce) turns
>         the figure/ground relationship around?
>         Henry
>
>
>             On May 5, 2017, at 4:01 PM, David Kellogg
>             <dkellogg60@gmail.com
>             <mailto:dkellogg60@gmail.com>> wrote:
>
>             Greg:
>
>             (As usual, I don't see the problem. I usually
>             don't see these problems
>             until the tide is well and truly over my head.)
>
>             Meaning is simply another word for
>             organization. Organization is always
>             present and never separable from matter: it's
>             a property of matter, the way
>             that the internet is a property of a computer.
>             Sometimes this organization
>             is brought about without any human
>             intervention (if you are religious, you
>             will say that it brought about divinely, and
>             if you are Spinozan, by
>             nature: it amounts to the same thing, because
>             "Deus Sive Natura").
>             Sometimes it is brought about by human
>             ingenuity (but of course if you are
>             religious you will say that it is the divine
>             in humans at work, and if you
>             are Spinozan you will say that humans are
>             simply that part of nature which
>             has become conscious of itself: once again, Ii
>             think it amounts to the same
>             thing). So of course there are not two kinds
>             of substance, res cogitans vs
>             res extensa, only one substance and different
>             ways of organizing it (which
>             in the end amount to the same thing).
>
>             You say that discourse particles like "Guess
>             what?" and "so there" and
>             "because" and "irregardless" and "what you say
>             to the contrary
>             notwithstanding" are "indexical". I agree,
>             insofar as they depend on their
>             relationship to the context of situation for
>             their meaning. You say that a
>             Southern drawl is indexical, and that the
>             relationship of jazz or blues or
>             hiphop to blackness is indexical. I agree,
>             insofar as they satisfy the
>             condition I just mentioned. But "because" is
>             also a symbol, and a
>             Southerner still sounds like a Southerner when
>             he/she moves to New York
>             City (and in fact you can argue they sound
>             more so). In Africa, jazz and
>             blues and hiphop in Africa are related to
>             Americanness and not to
>             blackness.
>
>             So your division of signs into just three
>             categories is too simple, Greg.
>             In fact, if you really read your Peirce, you
>             will discover that there are
>             tens of thousands of categories, but they are
>             generated from three
>             ineffable primitives ("firstness",
>             "secondness", and "thirdness"). So for
>             example all words are symbols insofar as you
>             have to know English in order
>             to understand "Guess what?" or "because". But
>             some words are
>             symbol-indices, symbols that function as
>             indexes, because they depend
>             on the context of situation for their meaning.
>             Without the symbolic
>             gateway, they cannot function as indices. My
>             wife, for example, cannot tell
>             a Southerner from a more general American
>             accent, and I myself still have
>             trouble figuring out who is an Australian and
>             who is an FOB bloody pom.
>             Similarly, my wife doesn't see the blackness
>             in hiphop--it sounds like
>             K-pop to her.
>
>             I don't actually think that any signs are
>             associative or "prehensive"; I
>             think that they are all different ways of
>             looking or apprehending. So for
>             example you can apprehend a wording as a
>             symbol: a way of organizing sound
>             stuff so that it "stands for" a way of
>             organizing other stuff (sometimes
>             lunchboxes and backpacks, actual categories of
>             objects and sometimes the
>             abstract models-in-the-making that Andy calls
>             "projects"). You can also
>             look at wording as index: not as something
>             that is "associated" to the lips
>             and tongue by juxtaposition or proximity or
>             even continguity but rather
>             something that has a necessary relation to the
>             vocal tract (which is itself
>             not a physiological organ, but something
>             brought about by human
>             organization). But when I look at sound waves
>             on my Praat spectrograph and
>             think of the shelving sea, what I am trying to
>             get at is the sound stuff,
>             the noise, the firstness of the stuff of
>             words. I'm not Cezanne: I don't
>             think there is any way of doing this with my
>             eyes or ears alone: I think it
>             requires a very complex combination of tools
>             and signs to get down to
>             firstness. But as Spinoza would have said if
>             he had breakfast with
>             Bacon, the head and the hand are not much by
>             themselves, but nobody
>             has ever really shown the limits of what they
>             can do when they put each
>             other in order and start to organize the world
>             around them.
>
>             (And that is about as much philosophy as you
>             are going to get out of me,
>             I'm afraid. The tide is galloping in....)
>
>             David Kellogg
>             Macquarie University
>
>             PS: What I am absolutely certain of is this:
>             mediating activity is not
>             absent in sign use, pace Alfredo or
>             Wolff-Michael, but it is very different
>             from mediating activity in tool use, for the
>             same reason that painting is
>             different from wording: in painting you CAN
>             leave out the human (if you are
>             doing a dead seal for example, or if you are
>             Rothko or Jackson Pollack--but
>             keep in mind that the former committed suicide
>             and the latter murdered two
>             innocent young women). But in wording you
>             never ever can. Wording can feel
>             unmediated--in fact it has to feel unmediated
>             or it doesn't work very
>             well--but in reality it's even more mediated
>             than ever.
>
>             dk
>
>
>             On Sat, May 6, 2017 at 1:09 AM, Greg Thompson
>             <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
>             <mailto:greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>>
>             wrote:
>
>                 David (and others),
>
>                 In the interests of disagreement (which I
>                 know you dearly appreciate), your
>                 last post included this:
>                 "Words don't "cause" meaning: they provide
>                 material correlates for meaning
>                 and in that sense "realise" them as matter."
>
>                 I was with you up until that point, but
>                 that's where I always lose you.
>
>                 I know it is a rather trite thing to say
>                 but I guess it really depends on
>                 what you mean by "meaning". If by meaning,
>                 you mean some plane of existence
>                 that runs parallel to the material stuff,
>                 then this seems to be a bit of
>                 trouble since this leaves us with, on the
>                 one hand, "matter" (res extensa?
>                 noumena?), and on the other hand "meaning"
>                 (res cogitans? phenomena?).
>                 Matter is easy enough to locate, but where
>                 do we locate "meaning" as you
>                 have described it?
>
>                 This reminds me of Saussure's classic
>                 drawing on p. 112 of his Cours
>                 (attached) in which "the indefinite plane
>                 of jumbled ideas" (A in the
>                 diagram) exists on one side of the chasm
>                 and "the equally vague plane of
>                 sounds" (B) exists on the other side of
>                 the chasm. Each side is
>                 self-contained and self-referential, and
>                 never the twain shall meet. Worlds
>                 apart.
>
>                 And this ties to the conversation in the
>                 other thread about the
>                 ineffability of meaning (as well as Andy's
>                 Marx quote about a science of
>                 language that is shorn from life). My
>                 suspicion is that this supposed
>                 ineffability of meaning has everything to
>                 do with this Saussurean approach
>                 to semiotics (i.e., meaningfulness).
>
>                 Peirce's triadic view of the sign offers a
>                 different approach that may give
>                 a way out of this trouble by putting the
>                 word back INto the world. (p. 102
>                 of the attached Logic as Semiotic).
>
>                 Peirce offers three kinds of relations of
>                 representamen (signifier) to
>                 object: iconic, indexical, and symbolic.
>                 The symbol is the relation with
>                 which we are most familiar - it is the one
>                 that Saussure speaks of and is
>                 the one that is ineffable or, in
>                 Saussure's words, "arbitrary", i.e.
>                 "conventional". It is the stuff of words,
>                 the meaning of which is found in
>                 other words (hence the sense of
>                 ineffability). With only the symbolic
>                 function, the whole world of words would
>                 be entirely self-referential and
>                 thus truly ineffable (and this is why I
>                 like to say that Derrida is the end
>                 of the Saussurean road - he took that idea
>                 to its logical conclusion and
>                 discovered that the meaning of meaning is,
>                 well, empty (and thus
>                 ineffable)).
>
>                 But Peirce has two other relations of
>                 representamen to object, the iconic
>                 and the indexical. In signs functioning
>                 iconically, the representamen
>                 contains some quality of the object that
>                 it represents (e.g., a map that
>                 holds relations of the space that it
>                 represents or onomatopoeia like "buzz"
>                 in which the representamen has some of the
>                 qualities of the sound of the
>                 bee flying by). With signs functioning
>                 indexically, the relationship of
>                 representamen to object is one of temporal
>                 or spatial contiguity (e.g.,
>                 where there is smoke there is fire, or
>                 where there is a Southern twang,
>                 there is a Southerner, or, most
>                 classically, when I point, the object to
>                 which I am pointing is spatially
>                 contiguous with the finger that is
>                 pointing).
>
>                 Now if I follow the argument of another of
>                 the inheritors of Roman
>                 Jakobson's legacy, Michael Silverstein
>                 (yes, Hasan and Halliday weren't the
>                 only inheritors of this tradition -
>                 Michael was a student of Jakobson's at
>                 Harvard... and he does a great impression
>                 of Jacobson too), then we can
>                 indeed locate a ground of the word (i.e.,
>                 the symbolic function) in the
>                 more primitive (i.e., rudimentary)
>                 indexical function.
>
>                 But that argument is always a bit too much
>                 for me (if there are any takers,
>                 the best place to find this argument is in
>                 Silverstein's chapter
>                 "Metapragmatic Discourse, Metapragmatic
>                 Function," or in less explicit but
>                 slightly more understandable article
>                 "Indexical Order and the Dialectics of
>                 Sociolinguistics Life").
>
>                 Vygotsky's argument is quite a bit more
>                 elegant and comprehensible: in
>                 ontogeny meaningfulness begins with the
>                 index, first as the index par
>                 excellence, pointing (something that, as
>                 Andy has previously pointed out,
>                 might not be exactly how things go in a
>                 literal sense, but the general
>                 structure here works well, I think, as a
>                 heuristic if nothing else - words
>                 are first learned as indexes, temporally
>                 and spatially collocated, "bottle"
>                 is first uttered as a way of saying
>                 "thirsty" and then later to refer to a
>                 co-present object; note this is also why
>                 young kids get discourse markers
>                 at such a young age (and seems incredibly
>                 precocious when they do!), since
>                 discourse markers are primarily
>                 indexical). The indexical function is the
>                 rudimentary form that then provides the
>                 groundwork for the development of
>                 the symbolic function.
>
>                 So then, in this Peircean(Vygotskian)
>                 approach, the meaning of signs is not
>                 ineffable, there is a grounding for words,
>                 and that grounding is the
>                 indexical, the "word"/sign that is both in
>                 the world and of the world.
>
>                 This seems to me a way of putting meaning
>                 back into matter. And perhaps
>                 speaking of words as the material
>                 correlates of meaning can be a useful
>                 heuristic (i.e., how else can we talk
>                 about meanings and concepts given our
>                 current set of meanings/concepts?). But we
>                 should also recognize that if it
>                 becomes more than an heuristic it can lead
>                 us astray if we take it too far.
>
>                 I'd add here that I think one of the
>                 greatest opportunities for CHAT to
>                 make a contribution to social science
>                 today is in its conceptualization of
>                 "concepts" (and, by extension,
>                 "meaningfulness"). I think that perhaps one
>                 of the most taken-for-granted aspects of
>                 social science today is the idea
>                 that we know what "concepts" are. In
>                 anthropology, people easily talk about
>                 "cultural concepts" and typically they
>                 mean precisely something that floats
>                 around in some ethereal plane of
>                 "meaningfulness" and which is not of the
>                 material stuff of the world. Yet, this
>                 runs counter to the direction that
>                 anthropology is heading these days with
>                 the so-called "ontological turn"
>                 (I'll hold off on explaining this for now
>                 since this post is already
>                 running way too long, but I'll just
>                 mention that one of the aims of this is
>                 to get to a non-dualistic social science).
>                 CHAT's conception of the concept
>                 seems to me to offer precisely what is
>                 needed -- a way of understanding the
>                 concept as a fundamentally cultural and
>                 historical thing, rather than
>                 simply as an "ideal" thing. The concept is
>                 the holding of a(n historical)
>                 relation across time (cf. Hebb's synapse
>                 or Peirce's sunflower). Concepts
>                 are thus little historical text-lets.
>
>                 Okay, that was too much. Perhaps I will
>                 find some time in the future to
>                 return to that last part, but there is no
>                 time to develop it further now.
>
>                 Anyway, I'm glad that I finally had the
>                 opportunity to catch up to these
>                 conversations. Delightful reading/thinking.
>
>                 I'll keep reading but no promises that
>                 I'll be able to comment (as a young
>                 scholar, I need to be spending my time
>                 putting stuff out - and unlike the
>                 rest of you, I'm no good at
>                 multi-tasking... it's either one or the other
>                 for me).
>
>                 Very best,
>                 greg
>
>
>
>                 On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 4:18 PM, David
>                 Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com
>                 <mailto:dkellogg60@gmail.com>>
>                 wrote:
>
>                     Well, yes. But if present day
>                     conditions are the REVERSE of the
>
>                 conditions
>
>                     under which Vygotsky was writing--that
>                     is, if the present trend is to
>                     subsume labor under language instead
>                     of the other way around--don't we
>
>                 need
>
>                     this distinction between signs and
>                     tools more than ever? That is, if
>
>                 sloppy
>
>                     formulations like "cultural capital",
>                     "symbolic violence", "use/exchange
>                     value of the word" are erasing the
>                     distinction between a mediating
>
>                 activity
>
>                     which acts on the environment and a
>                     mediating activity which acts on
>
>                 other
>
>                     mediators and on the self, and which
>                     therefore has the potential for
>                     reciprocity and recursion, isn't this
>                     exactly where the clear-eyed
>                     philosophers need to step in and
>                     straighten us out?
>
>                     I think that instead what is happening
>                     is that our older generation
>                     of rheumy-eyed philosophers (present
>                     company--usually--excluded) are too
>                     interested in the "tool power" of
>                     large categories and insufficiently
>                     interested in fine distinctions that
>                     make a difference. But perhaps it
>                     is also that our younger generation of
>                     misty-eyed philosophers are, as
>                     Eagleton remarked, more interested in
>                     copulating bodies than exploited
>                     ones. Yet these fine distinctions that
>                     do make a difference equally allow
>                     generalization and abstraction and
>                     tool power, and the copulating flesh
>
>                 and
>
>                     the exploited muscles are one and the
>                     same.
>
>                     Take, for example, your remark about
>                     the Fourier transform performed by
>
>                 the
>
>                     ear (not the brain--the inner ear
>                     cochlea--I can see the world centre for
>                     studying the cochlea from my office
>                     window). Actually, it's part of a
>
>                 wide
>
>                     range of "realisation" phenomena that
>                     were already being noticed by
>                     Vygotsky. In realisational phenomena,
>                     you don't have cause and effect,
>
>                 just
>
>                     as in cause and effect you don't have
>                     "association". Words don't "cause"
>                     meaning: they provide material
>                     correlates for meaning and in that sense
>                     "realise" them as matter. Meaning does
>                     not "cause" wording; it correlates
>                     wording to a semantics--an activity of
>                     consciousness--and through it to a
>                     context of situation or culture, and
>                     in that sense "realises" it.
>
>                     So in his lecture on early childhood,
>                     Vygotsky says that the
>
>                 stabilization
>
>                     of forms, colours, and sizes by the
>                     eye in early childhood is part of a
>
>                 two
>
>                     way relationship, a dialogue, between
>                     the sense organs and the brain. The
>                     reason why we don't see a table as a
>                     trapezoid, when we stand over it and
>                     compare the front with the back, the
>                     reason why we don't see a piece of
>                     chalk at nighttime as black, the
>                     reason why we have orthoscopic
>
>                 perception
>
>                     and we don't see a man at a distance
>                     as a looming midget is that the
>
>                 brain
>
>                     imposes the contrary views on the eye.
>                     And where does the brain get this
>                     view if not from language and from
>                     other people?
>
>                     David Kellogg
>                     Macquarie University
>
>
>
>
>
>                     On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 11:55 AM, Andy
>                     Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>                     <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>
>                         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 objects.
>
>                         Andy
>
>                         (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 signal.)
>
>                         ------------------------------------------------------------
>                         Andy Blunden
>                         http://home.mira.net/~andy
>                         <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>
>                         http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
>                         <http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making>
>                         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
>                             <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>                             <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.
>
>                 edu>
>
>                             on behalf of David Kellogg
>                             <dkellogg60@gmail.com
>                             <mailto: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
>
>
>
>
>
>                 --
>                 Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>                 Assistant Professor
>                 Department of Anthropology
>                 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>                 Brigham Young University
>                 Provo, UT 84602
>                 http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>                 <http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -- 
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson