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[Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis



I thought that the following quotation from Vygotsky (2010) (J Russ and
East Europ Psych), p. 93–94 is relevant to the present discussion and the
exchange between David and Andy. Michael

The psychophys[ical] problem*** (the nub of the question of the spiritual

and the material in human consciousness) consists—(if it is viewed not in
the

abstract-static (Fechner, Spinoza), i.e., a parallelistic correlation of
previously

severed attributes—thinking and extension but rather in a
function[al-]dynamic

and concrete context[)]—not in the relation between the brain and the psyche

(whether thought can move a cerebral atom 1 micron without expending
energy),

but in the relation between thinking and speech, in which the latt[er] is

its materialization, its objectivization, its embodiment, a continuous
transition

of the external to the internal and the internal to the external, a real
rather than

imaginary unity and struggle of opposites (m[ay]b[e] the main thing in the

development—historical—of consciousness[)]. Cf. Marx: the materiality of

consciousness in its link to language.




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, Sep 8, 2017 at 6:16 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth <
wolffmichael.roth@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Andy, (by the way, I understand what is happening here as discourses
> playing themselves out, and your or my person as being incidental, others
> could be saying the same because it is a possibility of
> saying/writing----so nothing personal)
>
> You make an interesting point about my mind. Actually, if you knew me, if
> we had had the occasion to speak face to face, you would know that I do not
> claim mind to be my own, mind is a collective (cultural) feature. Whatever
> "I" can think, is a collective possibility for thinking. So my person is
> incidental to what I say and write (am consciously aware of). Same for
> relationships. I do not live a relation as a subject giving something, and
> getting something in return. Instead, "I" understand that *what I can be
> is a function of the relation, of the we; there is no ME preceding the we,
> my sense of ME and I are a function of the WE of which I am a part*.
>
> So you may attribute a mind to me, but it is not my mind; culture and
> society reproduce themselves in and through "me," which they make possible
> in the first place. Same with life. It is not MY life. Life maintains and
> manifests itself through whatever recognizes itself to be ME. This me is
> mortal, life goes on; I am mortal, society (culture) goes on. I learned a
> lot from watching my bees. The workers live, in the summer, perhaps 3
> weeks. But the colony lives on. Within a few months, only the queen is "the
> same," not quite, but sufficient for the present purposes. Within 2-3
> years, if you don't have a swarm, many bees have been born and died, many
> generations have passed, but the colony continues to thrive. Life goes on,
> and the bee society goes on. The individual bee comes and goes.
>
> I have thought about why it might be that there is so much crime in the US
> even though it has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world? If
> you take Vygotsky's diction that every higher psychological function WAS a
> social relation, then you may conclude that the criminal mind, too, exists
> in the social relations and that whatever shows up in the individual
> criminal is only a manifestation of this ensemble of societal relations...
>
> 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 Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 5:41 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>
>> Michael, being an English-speaker is not an explanation for someone's
>> every shortcoming; as it happens I read enough German and French to not be
>> blinded by my native language, but I am also a very mindful user of my own
>> language. I used the words "mind" and "body" because of the cultural
>> history of this word-pair.
>>
>> *Of course* it is a "thinking body." But all that solves is some medieval
>> problems of ontology.
>>
>> I have never had the pleasure of talking to you in person, Michael, but I
>> have the impression that you have a mind. Am I right? Do you have a mind?
>> Do you act consciously or are you just a piece of flesh responding to
>> stimuli according to the laws of physics and chemistry? And aren't you able
>> to distinguish between what is in your mind and something that exists
>> independently of you? Where did this remarkable ability come from? I think
>> that that (among others) is a fair question. Responding with truisms of
>> ontology is no answer. Being aware of oneself, being a conscious being, is
>> not a trivial matter or a mistake. As Psychologists we are interested in
>> all the questions the study of the mind throws up
>>
>> Andy
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> Andy Blunden
>> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>> On 8/09/2017 10:02 PM, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>>
>>> Andy, about the body, and mind, I think it would be good to re-read the
>>> chapter on Spinoza in Il'enkov's *Dialectical Logic*. He writes about the
>>> thinking body, not about the mediation of body and mind by something
>>> else.
>>> These two are but manifestations. THough developed in a very different
>>> tradition (Maine de Biran), the materialist philosopher Michel Henry's
>>> *Incarnation:
>>> Une Philosphie de la Chair* can be read in the same way.
>>>
>>> One of the problems may lie in the English word body, which does not have
>>> the same possibilities as the German and French pairs Körper/Leib and
>>> corps/chair. That is a big problem, as you are stuck with the material
>>> body, always opposed to thought, and then you need mediation to get the
>>> two
>>> together. Chair is something like a thinking body.
>>>
>>> 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-dir
>>> ections-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-mathematics
>>> -of-mathematics/>*
>>>
>>> On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 9:02 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>>
>>> "if something explains everything, it in fact explains nothing" ?
>>>> To say that there is always something in between any two things you want
>>>> to mention is not "explaining everything."
>>>>
>>>> "If the body is mediating, then between what and what?"
>>>> Basically between mind and body. Initially there is no such distinction,
>>>> for a new-born, for example. But this distinction arises through
>>>> practical
>>>> interactions with the infant's socio-cultural environment, the same way
>>>> a
>>>> child gets to know that that there is *my hand* and that there is *not
>>>> me*,
>>>> etc. Repeating medieval aphorisms about "no distinctions between mind
>>>> and
>>>> body" and denouncing this as a "Western construct" - things one hears
>>>> from
>>>> time to time - is a waste of breath. We are not born with such a
>>>> distinction, but we make one, and after a certain age, almost
>>>> everything we
>>>> do is mediated by consciousness, even if that consciousness is
>>>> delusional.
>>>>
>>>> Also, we now know that the characteristically human adaptations - our
>>>> upright gait, our speech-enabled larynx and our hands are *cultural
>>>> inheritances*, just like the landscape, crops, domesticated animals and
>>>> tools we use, not to mention our languages, art, religions, etc. All
>>>> *artefacts* mediating our activity. You can say that these things
>>>> explain
>>>> nothing if you like, but I am not convinced.
>>>>
>>>> Andy
>>>>
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> Andy Blunden
>>>> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>>>> https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>>>> On 8/09/2017 1:44 PM, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Andy,
>>>>> if everything is mediated, what is the point of doing more research to
>>>>> say
>>>>> that something is mediated by something? Like the adage goes, if
>>>>> something
>>>>> explains everything, it in fact explains nothing.
>>>>>
>>>>> If the body is mediating, then between what and what?
>>>>>
>>>>> Concerning the "meaning" of mediation in CHAT----this is perhaps an
>>>>> Anglo-Saxon CHAT that you are referring to?
>>>>>
>>>>> There are scholars saying that Vygotsky's work is not of much use
>>>>> because
>>>>> of his instrumentalism, mediation seems to me part of that
>>>>> instrumentalism.
>>>>> (That's why those people say that Bakhtin has a better approach to the
>>>>> way
>>>>> language works.) The later Vygotsky did not seem to go the route of
>>>>> mediation, or so say those more familiar with some of the notes that
>>>>> have
>>>>> become available from the family archive.
>>>>>
>>>>> 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-dir
>>>>> ections-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-mathematics
>>>>> -of-mathematics/>*
>>>>>
>>>>> On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 8:32 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> Sure, not everyone agrees. I think understanding what we come to know
>>>>> as
>>>>>
>>>>>> parts of our body as artefacts makes a lot of things comprehensible.
>>>>>> Eating
>>>>>> and having sex, for example, are cultural practices and through
>>>>>> participation in these cultural practices people learn to name and
>>>>>> identify
>>>>>> the various parts of our body and the appropriate ways of using them.
>>>>>> As
>>>>>> David said, we are not born with this ability, but only natural
>>>>>> functions.
>>>>>> We are born without self-consciousness of any kind or any distinction
>>>>>> between mind and body. These are culturally acquired distinctions and
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> use of our bodies is the cultural means of acquiring these capacities,
>>>>>> which ultimately come to be embodied in external objects. I arrived at
>>>>>> this
>>>>>> conclusion (the body is an artefact) because it was necessary to make
>>>>>> sense
>>>>>> of the narrative of cultural psychology. But as you say, Michael, not
>>>>>> everyone agrees. I don't know anyone in this whole story that I
>>>>>> entirely
>>>>>> agree with.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Note however that "mediated" has taken on a very specific meaning in
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> CHAT tradition, it implies artefact-use for CHAT people and in the
>>>>>> same
>>>>>> tradition bodies are not "artefacts." So there is tons of room for
>>>>>> talking
>>>>>> at cross purposes here. But mediation is something utterly ubiquitous.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>> Andy Blunden
>>>>>> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>>>>>> https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>>>>>> On 8/09/2017 1:19 PM, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Not everyone agrees:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> (Mikhailov 2001, p. 20) "Hence, the external corporeal existence of
>>>>>>> other
>>>>>>> people, their real-objective behavior, their activity with things,
>>>>>>> their
>>>>>>> voices and gestures and, consequently, the object-related nature
>>>>>>> of all the conditions of their lives (all that is other), *is not
>>>>>>> mediated*
>>>>>>> for individuals to become aware of them by the pure meanings
>>>>>>> and senses of so many physically external words,26 but are
>>>>>>> themselves the reality of affect and sense for each of us."
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> AND
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> (Mikhailov 2001, p. 27) Everything
>>>>>>> to which the child begins to relate in himself—close adults,
>>>>>>> their speech, and consequently the “language” of household objects
>>>>>>> addressed to him, the “language” of the whole of nature around
>>>>>>> him, in a word, everything that his organs of perception assimilate
>>>>>>> together with the subjectivity of adults—all these things are given
>>>>>>> to the child *not as an ensemble of mediators* between the child and
>>>>>>> nature, but, in fact, as subjectively his own; for all of these
>>>>>>> things
>>>>>>> are subjectively “everyone’s.”
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Mediationism has become something like a religion---Alfredo and I
>>>>>>> have a
>>>>>>> piece in Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, suggesting
>>>>>>> why
>>>>>>> we do not need the concept,
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> 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-dir
>>>>>>> ections-in-mathematics-and-science-education/the-mathematics
>>>>>>> -of-mathematics/>*
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 7:55 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> David, the germ cell of artefact-use is the use of our own body. Our
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> various body parts are essentially artefacts.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>>>>>>>> https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>>>>>>>> On 8/09/2017 12:45 PM, David Kellogg wrote:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Andy:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> We're currently translating Chapter Three of pedology of the
>>>>>>>>> adolescent
>>>>>>>>> into Korean. You know that Vygotsky likes to begin at the
>>>>>>>>> beginning.
>>>>>>>>> So
>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky is discussing the way in which the first year of life
>>>>>>>>> both is
>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> is not the same as intra-uterine development. He points out that
>>>>>>>>> there
>>>>>>>>> are
>>>>>>>>> three "activities" (and that is the term that he uses) that are
>>>>>>>>> similar.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> a) Feeding. Although the child now uses animal functions perfectly
>>>>>>>>> well
>>>>>>>>> (that is, the child responds to hunger and even actively seeks
>>>>>>>>> milk)
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> nature of the child's food does not depend on these animal
>>>>>>>>> functions:
>>>>>>>>> it is
>>>>>>>>> still, as it was during gestation, a product of the mother's body.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> b) Sleep. Although the child has periods of wakefulness and
>>>>>>>>> activity,
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> main (as opposed to the leading) "activity" is inactive sleep, and
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> child does not keep a twenty-four hour cycle any more than she or
>>>>>>>>> he
>>>>>>>>> did in
>>>>>>>>> the womb. Even the use of the twenty-four hour cycle is an
>>>>>>>>> adaptation
>>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>>> the circadian rhythm of the mother as much as the establishment of
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> child's own circadian rhythm.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> c) Locomotion. Although the child now has space to move arms and
>>>>>>>>> legs,
>>>>>>>>> the human child doesn't use them for locomotion for many months
>>>>>>>>> after
>>>>>>>>> birth
>>>>>>>>> and instead depends on mother, just as a marsupial that has a
>>>>>>>>> morphological
>>>>>>>>> adaptation for this purpose would.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky's point is that these activities are not yet mediated; if
>>>>>>>>> they
>>>>>>>>> were, then the child's discovery of her or his own ability to act
>>>>>>>>> upon
>>>>>>>>> objects ("tools") and the child's discovery of her or his ability
>>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>>> mean
>>>>>>>>> ("signs") would not have the significance that they do. Ergo,
>>>>>>>>> historically,
>>>>>>>>> genetically, developmentally there must necessarily exist activity
>>>>>>>>> which is
>>>>>>>>> not made up of mediated actions.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 10:51 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>>>>>>>> <mailto:
>>>>>>>>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>        "Andy added the notion that experts need basically to
>>>>>>>>>        be able to agree reliably on examples of the unit" ?
>>>>>>>>>        Researchers need to be clear about the unit of
>>>>>>>>>        analysis each of them are using and of course,
>>>>>>>>>        collaboration is much easier if you are all using the
>>>>>>>>>        same unit of analysis. Exemplars are a way of
>>>>>>>>>        substantiating a concept while a concept remains
>>>>>>>>>        unclear or diverse, just like lists of attributes and
>>>>>>>>>        definitions - all of which still fall short of a
>>>>>>>>>        concept. To grasp the concept of something, like "unit
>>>>>>>>>        of analysis," you have to know the narrative in which
>>>>>>>>>        the concept is situated. Narrative knowledge and
>>>>>>>>>        conceptual knowledge are mutually interdependent. The
>>>>>>>>>        first three chapters of the story of "unit of
>>>>>>>>>        analysis" as I see it are in my paper "Goethe, Hegel &
>>>>>>>>>        Marx" to be published in "Science & Society" next
>>>>>>>>>        year:
>>>>>>>>>        http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Goethe-Hegel-
>>>>>>>>> Marx_public.pdf
>>>>>>>>>        <http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Goethe-Hegel-
>>>>>>>>> Marx_public.pdf>
>>>>>>>>>        - Vygotsky is the 4th chapter.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>        "What makes water not an element, but a compound, are
>>>>>>>>>        the relations between the subunits" ?
>>>>>>>>>        The idea of a water molecule pre-dates he discovery of
>>>>>>>>>        its composition as H2O and all the chemical properties
>>>>>>>>>        related to that. As David suggested, it is the much
>>>>>>>>>        more ancient knowledge of the "water cycle" - rain,
>>>>>>>>>        snow, hail and fog ... run-off, streams, rivers, lakes
>>>>>>>>>        ... seas, oceans ... vapour, steam ... - which is
>>>>>>>>>        expressed in the idea of a "water molecule" - a tiny
>>>>>>>>>        particle which all these things are made of, but which
>>>>>>>>>        combines in different forms of movement to give us the
>>>>>>>>>        various physical forms of what is all water. It is an
>>>>>>>>>        unfortunate choice for a archetypal example, because
>>>>>>>>>        it appears to contradict my claim that the concept of
>>>>>>>>>        the unit must be visceral. The water molecule is so
>>>>>>>>>        small it can be held in the hand, tossed around and
>>>>>>>>>        stacked together only in the imagination. Nonetheless,
>>>>>>>>>        like with metaphors, it is our visceral knowledge of
>>>>>>>>>        particles (stones, pieces of bread, household objects,
>>>>>>>>>        etc) which makes the concept of a "water molecule"
>>>>>>>>>        something real to us, whose manifold physical
>>>>>>>>>        properties arising from its V-shape, and its
>>>>>>>>>        electrical stickiness, are meaningful. This contrasts
>>>>>>>>>        with the 18th/19th century idea of "forces" and
>>>>>>>>>        "fields" which are intangibles (though of course we
>>>>>>>>>        find ways of grasping them viscerally nonetheless).
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>        Different phenomena are grasped by the way one and the
>>>>>>>>>        same units aggregate. The unit relates to the range of
>>>>>>>>>        phenomena it unifies. Different insights are provided
>>>>>>>>>        by different units, *not necessarily in a hierarchy*.
>>>>>>>>>        But a hierarchy of units and in particular the
>>>>>>>>>        micro/macro pair are a theme which runs right through
>>>>>>>>>        this narrative, the micro in some way "explaining" the
>>>>>>>>>        macro which in turn explains the main phenomena:
>>>>>>>>>        cell/organism, atom/molecule, commodity/capital, word
>>>>>>>>>        meaning/utterance, artefact-mediated action/activity,
>>>>>>>>>        etc. I am interested in this micro/macro relation but
>>>>>>>>>        personally (despite my interest in Hegel) I am not a
>>>>>>>>>        fan of trying to systematise the world with a
>>>>>>>>>        "complete set" of units. Just one unit gives us an
>>>>>>>>>        entire science. Let's not get too carried away. :)
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>        I hold the view, with A N Leontyev, that *Activities
>>>>>>>>>        are composed of artefact-mediated actions and nothing
>>>>>>>>>        else*. Any move away from this destroys the
>>>>>>>>>        ontological foundation and takes us into metaphysics.
>>>>>>>>>        If it is not an artefact-mediated action or aggregate
>>>>>>>>>        of such actions, what the hell is it???
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>        Andy
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>        -----------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>> -
>>>>>>>>>        Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>>>        http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>>>>>>>>>        <http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm>
>>>>>>>>>        https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>>>>>>>>>        <https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research>
>>>>>>>>>        On 8/09/2017 3:41 AM, David Dirlam wrote:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>            The issues that have arisen in this discussion
>>>>>>>>>            clarify the conception of what sort of entity a
>>>>>>>>>            "unit" is. Both and Andy and Martin stress the
>>>>>>>>>            importance of the observer. Anyone with some
>>>>>>>>>            experience should have some sense of it (Martin's
>>>>>>>>>            point). But Andy added the notion that experts
>>>>>>>>>            need basically to be able to agree reliably on
>>>>>>>>>            examples of the unit (worded like the
>>>>>>>>>            psychological researcher I am, but I'm sure Andy
>>>>>>>>>            will correct me if I missed his meaning).
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>            We also need to address two other aspects of
>>>>>>>>>            units--their classifiability and the types of
>>>>>>>>>            relations between them. What makes water not an
>>>>>>>>>            element, but a compound, are the relations between
>>>>>>>>>            the subunits (the chemical bonds between the
>>>>>>>>>            elements) as well as those with other molecules of
>>>>>>>>>            water (how fast they travel relative to each
>>>>>>>>>            other), which was David Kellogg's point. So the
>>>>>>>>>            analogy to activity is that it is like the
>>>>>>>>>            molecule, while actions are like the elements.
>>>>>>>>>            What is new to this discussion is that the
>>>>>>>>>            activity must contain not only actions, but also
>>>>>>>>>            relationships between them. If we move up to the
>>>>>>>>>            biological realm, we find a great increase in the
>>>>>>>>>            complexity of the analogy. Bodies are made up of
>>>>>>>>>            more than cells, and I'm not just referring to
>>>>>>>>>            entities like extracellular fluid. The
>>>>>>>>>            identifiability, classification, and
>>>>>>>>>            interrelations between cells and their
>>>>>>>>>            constituents all help to make the unit so
>>>>>>>>>            interesting to science. Likewise, the constituents
>>>>>>>>>            of activities are more than actions. Yrjo's
>>>>>>>>>            triangles illustrate that. Also, we need to be
>>>>>>>>>            able to identify an activity, classify activities,
>>>>>>>>>            and discern the interrelations between them and
>>>>>>>>>            their constituents.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>            I think that is getting us close to David
>>>>>>>>>            Kellogg's aim of characterizing the meaning of
>>>>>>>>>            unit. But glad, like him, to read corrections.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>            David
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>            On Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 10:08 PM, Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>>>            <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
>>>>>>>>>            <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>            <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                Yes, but I think, Martin, that the unit of
>>>>>>>>>            analysis we
>>>>>>>>>                need to aspire to is *visceral* and sensuous.
>>>>>>>>>            There
>>>>>>>>>                are "everyday" concepts which are utterly
>>>>>>>>>            abstract and
>>>>>>>>>                saturated with ideology and received
>>>>>>>>>            knowledge. For
>>>>>>>>>                example, Marx's concept of capital is
>>>>>>>>>                buying-in-order-to-sell, which is not the
>>>>>>>>>            "everyday"
>>>>>>>>>                concept of capital at all, of course.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                Andy
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                       -----------------------------
>>>>>>>>> -------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>                Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>>>            http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>>>>>>>>>            <http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm>
>>>>>>>>>                       <http://www.ethicalpolitics.o
>>>>>>>>> rg/ablunden/index.htm
>>>>>>>>>            <http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm>>
>>>>>>>>>            https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>>>>>>>>>            <https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research>
>>>>>>>>>                <https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>>>>>>>>>            <https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                On 7/09/2017 8:48 AM, Martin John Packer wrote:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                    Isn’t a unit of analysis (a germ cell) a
>>>>>>>>>                    preliminary concept, one might say an everyday
>>>>>>>>>                    concept, that permits one to grasp the
>>>>>>>>>            phenomenon
>>>>>>>>>                    that is to be studied in such a way that
>>>>>>>>>            it can be
>>>>>>>>>                    elaborated, in the course of
>>>>>>>>>            investigation, into
>>>>>>>>>                    an articulated and explicit scientific
>>>>>>>>>            concept?
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                    just wondering
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                    Martin
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                        On Sep 6, 2017, at 5:15 PM, Greg Thompson
>>>>>>>>>                        <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
>>>>>>>>>            <mailto:greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
>>>>>>>>>                        <mailto:greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>            <mailto:greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                        Not sure if others might feel this is an
>>>>>>>>>                        oversimplification of unit of
>>>>>>>>>                        analysis, but I just came across this in
>>>>>>>>>                        Wortham and Kim's Introduction to
>>>>>>>>>                        the volume Discourse and Education and
>>>>>>>>>            found
>>>>>>>>>                        it useful. The short of it is
>>>>>>>>>                        that the unit of analysis is the unit that
>>>>>>>>>                        "preserves the
>>>>>>>>>                        essential features of the whole".
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                        Here is their longer explanation:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                        "Marx (1867/1986) and Vygotsky (1934/1987)
>>>>>>>>>                        apply the concept "unit of
>>>>>>>>>                        analysis" to social scientific
>>>>>>>>>            problems. In
>>>>>>>>>                        their account, an adequate
>>>>>>>>>                        approach to any phenomenon must find
>>>>>>>>>            the right
>>>>>>>>>                        unit of analysis - one that
>>>>>>>>>                        preserves the essential features of
>>>>>>>>>            the whole.
>>>>>>>>>                        In order to study water, a
>>>>>>>>>                        scientist must not break the substance
>>>>>>>>>            down
>>>>>>>>>                        below the level of an
>>>>>>>>>                        individual H20 molecule. Water is made
>>>>>>>>>            up of
>>>>>>>>>                        nothing but hydrogen and
>>>>>>>>>                        oxygen, but studying hydrogen and oxygen
>>>>>>>>>                        separately will not illuminate the
>>>>>>>>>                        essential properties of water. Similarly,
>>>>>>>>>                        meaningful language use requires
>>>>>>>>>                        a unit of analysis that includes aspects
>>>>>>>>>                        beyond phonology,
>>>>>>>>>                        grammar, semantics, and mental
>>>>>>>>>                        representations. All of these
>>>>>>>>>            linguistic and
>>>>>>>>>                        psychological factors play a role in
>>>>>>>>>                        linguistic communication, but natural
>>>>>>>>>                        language use also involves social
>>>>>>>>>            action in a
>>>>>>>>>                        context that includes other
>>>>>>>>>                        actors and socially significant
>>>>>>>>>            regularities."
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                        (entire chapter can be found on
>>>>>>>>>            Research Gate at:
>>>>>>>>>            https://www.researchgate.net/p
>>>>>>>>> ublication/319322253_Introduct
>>>>>>>>> ion_to_Discourse_and_Education
>>>>>>>>>            <https://www.researchgate.net/
>>>>>>>>> publication/319322253_Introduc
>>>>>>>>> tion_to_Discourse_and_Education>
>>>>>>>>>                               <https://www.researchgate.
>>>>>>>>> net/publication/319322253_Introduction_to_Discourse_and_Education
>>>>>>>>>            <https://www.researchgate.net/
>>>>>>>>> publication/319322253_Introduc
>>>>>>>>> tion_to_Discourse_and_Education>>
>>>>>>>>>                        )
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                        ​I thought that the water/H20 metaphor
>>>>>>>>>            was a
>>>>>>>>>                        useful one for thinking about
>>>>>>>>>                        unit of analysis.​
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                        ​-greg​
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>                        --             Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>>>>>>>>>                        Assistant Professor
>>>>>>>>>                        Department of Anthropology
>>>>>>>>>                        880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>>>>>>>>>                        Brigham Young University
>>>>>>>>>                        Provo, UT 84602
>>>>>>>>>                        WEBSITE: greg.a.thompson.byu.edu
>>>>>>>>>            <http://greg.a.thompson.byu.edu>
>>>>>>>>>                        <http://greg.a.thompson.byu.edu
>>>>>>>>>            <http://greg.a.thompson.byu.edu>>
>>>>>>>>>            http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>>>>>>>>>            <http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson>
>>>>>>>>>                               <http://byu.academia.edu/Grego
>>>>>>>>> ryThompson
>>>>>>>>>            <http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>
>>
>