Okay, I think we need to talk about these things not in the ideal way,
not in the abstract, but analyze real concrete practical activity.
I think that a lot of our theoretical problems disappear when we approach
the issue dialectically, beginning with an analysis of activity, not
onsidedly with an analysis of tools or transparency or . . . We then end up
capturing both the material and ideal aspects of the CANE IN ACTIVITY.
Outside real practical activity, the cane is nothing, like any sign or word
is nothing outside real concrete activity.
were among the reasons why I gave my somewhat incomplete example the
way I did - I might say 'approach the issue phenomenologically.' So I
clearly agree. However I am often made aware, although I might wonder
at such terms as transparent, opaque, abstract, or concrete, they
often and usefully bring some things to light (unfortunately and
naturally they hide others).
Oh, I describe a little more fully how I walk below :-).
>>My observations of the blind have been a bit different than the one
>>Bateson recounts (which doesn't at all contradict what he recounts)
>>- at one point I spent some time at a school for the blind outside
>>Nashville, Tennessee. Many of the young people I observed swung
>>their cane to and fro in front of them (and in some particular
>>situations they let it drag to the side). They didn't seem to be
>>looking for confirming evidence (and they may, for the observant
>>person sharing their space, have been simultaneously been socially
>>clearing the way in front of
>But Ed, do you look for confirming evidence when you walk? Do look
>prior to setting your foot down, then confirm that it's gonna be
>okay. . .
An interesting question. Perhaps a useful way to answer is that I
expect it to be okay and would be surprised if it wasn't. Considering
the phenomena of walking with a cane, it often seems to be done as if
one expected it wasn't going to be okay. However, my use of
confirming had more to do with Bateson's example. Which also seems to
be a valid way of using a cane and, in my case (smile), using my
hands or feet walking in a darkened living room.
>> them) but for disconfirming evidence - that is, when the cane
>>exhibited stick-like properties. Opaqueness (as in a sheet of
>>paper), so to speak, was crucial and they seemed to be attempting
>>to maximize this with the cane. However, at the same time they
>>needed to use something that could act as an extension of
>>themselves (a heavy iron bar or a feather would not be ideal).
>>Hence, it seems to me, it is the doing (might one say the
>>'thoroughly internalized' here?) that was mediated that is/was at
>>stake and, in many instance, the 'ideal' tool might be, in use,
>>both appropriately 'opaque' and 'transparent' or, perhaps, in use
>>have the appropriate potentials for being both 'concrete' and
>Okay, I think we need to talk about these things not in the ideal
>way, not in the abstract, but analyze real concrete practical
>activity. In this, I think that both of your conditions are already
>met in the normal stick, it is both transparent--not thought about,
>not only embodied in operations, but also embodying operations such
>as providing a clearing before them--and material. It is only in
>their materiality that the canes can be used for what they are used
>in practical activity, that they have an effect, that they realize
>motives and goals.
>I think that a lot of our theoretical problems disappear when we
>approach the issue dialectically, beginning with an analysis of
>activity, not onsidedly with an analysis of tools or transparency or
>. . . We then end up capturing both the material and ideal aspects
>of the CANE IN ACTIVITY. Outside real practical activity, the cane
>is nothing, like any sign or word is nothing outside real concrete
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